Proposed Changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for Residential Landlords

05 March 2018

The new MEES regulations are due to be introduced from 1 April 2018 making it illegal for residential and commercial property landlords to let properties which are not suitably energy efficient.

Landlords of residential properties will be required to improve the energy efficiency of their properties such that they achieve an EPC rating of E. Letting of properties with an EPC rating of F or G will not be permitted, unless the landlord can show that they have undertaken all ‘relevant’ improvement work.

Late in 2017 the government issued a consultation document which sought views on a proposal to amend the MEES regulations. This proposal suggests that from 1 April 2019 residential landlords should contribute up to £2,500 towards improvements to properties which remain below the required E rating.

This represents a change of tack by the government which has been driven by the definition of ‘relevant’ work mentioned above. Under current MEES regulations, work is only relevant if the work is at no cost to the landlord as a result of funding being available from either the Green Deal finance plan, the Energy Company Obligation or a local authority grant.

Problems have arisen because the anticipated funding available from the re-launched Green Deal has not materialised, with too few providers coming on board to meet the funding needed to make the level of improvements required nationwide. As a result of this, improvements needed to many F and G rated properties may well not be carried out because they will be deemed to not be ‘relevant’ and the MEES regulations will have failed to achieve their purpose.

The current proposed amendment removes the exemption relating to improvements that cannot be funded at no cost to the landlord, replacing this with a cost to landlord cap of £2,500 per property. For exemptions to be claimed against work being ‘not relevant’, a landlord must therefore first have spent a minimum of £2,500 attempting to bring an F or G rated property up to the required E rating.

The proposed changes to the regulations are scheduled to come into force in April 2019, at which point all exemptions granted under the previous ‘no cost to landlord’ measure will become invalid. Landlords will need to reassess their properties and review the funding options available to them.

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If you have any concerns regarding the issues discussed in this article, please contact Justin Moss or contact your local MHA MacIntyre Hudson office. Alternatively, you can send us an online enquiry.

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