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Landlords of tenanted residential properties: new energy efficiency regulations are now in force which you cannot ignore

News / / Landlords of tenanted residential properties: new energy efficiency regulations are now in force which you cannot ignore

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (‘MEES’) came into force early 2018, and applies to domestic private rented property. They are designed to encourage landlords and property owners to improve energy efficiency standards and set a minimum to those standards.

The latest amendments to the MEES Regulations came into force on 1 April 2020 affecting landlords with existing tenancies. Previous amendments only affected landlords when granting new tenancies. Landlords of domestic private rented property are now prohibited from continuing any existing tenancy of a property which is deemed to be “sub-standard”. 

A "sub-standard” property is defined as one where the valid Energy Performance Certificate (or ‘EPC’) for that property falls below band E. An EPC is valid where it is the most recent EPC registered and is no more than ten years old. 

An EPC is a measurement of the energy efficiency of a property, scaled between bands A – G. The most efficient homes – which should subsequently have the lowest fuel bills – are in band A. The lower the scale, the worse the energy efficiency and greater the impact on the environment.

All residential landlords urgently need to assess whether their tenanted properties are “sub-standard” for the purpose of the revised MEES Regulations. Where a property is sub-standard, the landlord will be in breach of the Regulations if the tenancy continues and the landlord ignores these changes.

Landlords who breach the Regulations will be liable for statutory penalties of up to £5,000 per breach and may also be “named and shamed” in a public register as a landlord who has breached the Regulations. 

There are certain properties to which the Regulations do not apply but the category is limited. Simply put, the Regulations apply to most domestic private rented residential properties.

To comply with the Regulations, landlords of sub-standard properties will need to carry out works to improve the EPC rating or, alternatively, they must be able to establish that they can rely on certain exemptions set out in the Regulations excusing them from carrying out improvement works. One such exemption applies if the necessary works would cost too much – the Regulations specify relevant figures and circumstances, as well as a select few other exemptions.

Please contact us if you need advice about how these changes affect or may affect you as a landlord, or if you need advice on what you need to do to comply with the changes and whether you can claim an exemption.

This article was authored by Susan Haggard and Richard Seymour.

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