Staying a step ahead of new energy regulations

Tue 16 Jan 2018

Landlords have been reminded of the need to ensure their rental properties comply with new energy regulations after details of the legislation were confirmed.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations will come into force on 1st April, meaning properties must achieve a minimum of an E rating in an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or landlords will be unable to start a new lease or extend an existing lease.

“There are still some areas of the regulations that require clarification, however some details have now been confirmed and we have put together a comprehensive guide to help landlords ensure compliance,” says Allison Thompson, managing director at Leaders. “We are also pleased to have teamed up with Vibrant, the UK’s largest supplier of EPCs and related services, to help landlords stay a step ahead of the new regulations.”

Leaders advise that the best course of action for landlords who already hold an EPC rated between A and E is to ensure it is kept up to date so your tenancy can be renewed or your property re-let when required. But landlords should bear in mind that the software that was used to produce EPCs has become increasingly more accurate over the last few years and now provides a much wider scope in which energy efficiency measures are analysed. It is therefore expected that many properties assessed as an E category prior to 2012 will now fall into an F or G category and require re-assessment and possible work to be carried out.

For landlords whose properties do not currently boast an A-E rated EPC, the best course of action is to order a ‘desktop MEES’ through Vibrant which will help you ascertain exactly what needs to be done to ensure you comply with the regulations or advise if your property can be exempt. If work is required Vibrant will project manage the funding solution on your behalf.

Says Allison: “Many properties, particularly older ones dating back to the early part of the 20th century, do not currently have an E rating or higher. This will make it difficult for some landlords to start new tenancies on them or to extend an existing lease, providing they do not qualify for an exemption from the rules. The penalties for breaking these new regulations are severe – a £4,000 fixed penalty notice will be served on those who continue to let a non-compliant property for more than three months – but if landlords act now they can avoid getting into hot water. If you think your property may be exempt you can register it and, if approved, it will be subject to a re-application every five years.”

Landlords who would have to pay to carry out energy-efficient improvements to help their property achieve an E rating or better and are unable to obtain funding to do this currently may be exempt, although it should be noted this ruling is under review. Also, if all improvements which can reasonably be made have been completed, and the property remains below an EPC rating of Band E, the property can be exempt. Other exemptions include properties that would be damaged by installing wall insulation; properties where it is not possible to gain the consent for the works to be completed from the tenant, lender or superior landlord; and buildings that are officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historic merit where compliance with certain minimum energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.

For a copy of Leaders’ detailed Landlord’s Guide to MEES contact your local Leaders branch or order a ‘desktop MEES’ through Vibrant to ascertain the best route to compliance.

The information provided is correct at the time of publishing and follows guidance from ARLA Propertymark.

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