Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
Since April 1, 2020, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 have made it unlawful for landlords to rent out domestic property where the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is less than E rating except where a valid exemption has been appropriately registered on the PRS (Private Rented Sector) Exemptions Register portal.
The Regulations is related to properties operated as rented dwellings within the PRS even where there has been no change of tenancy. Further information
Why the MEES regulation?
The Regulations have been introduced to reduce gas emissions, tackle climate change and ensure improvement in the energy efficiency in properties within the PRS and make homes more thermal efficient particularly those who are vulnerable or fuel poor, so they are able to enjoy a more comfortable and healthier living environment and lower energy bills.
What is an EPC?
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are legally required when a relevant property is built, sold or rented. An EPC provides the energy efficiency rating of properties from A to G. It contains information about the heating system and potential energy cost including recommendations on how to reduce energy costs in the house. EPC certificate is valid for 10 years and must be made available by the landlord when a property is rented within the Private Rented Sector (PRS). More information
Steps to be taken by landlord
As a private landlord, you are required by the Regulations to have taken the below steps by 1st
- to have an EPC with a minimum rating of E or above, or
- to have registered a valid PRS exemption as applicable.
The EPC will give specific advice on what action to take to improve the rating in the house including but not limited to insulating cavity walls, installing double glazing, using energy efficient light bulbs amongst others.
Failure to do the above would be a breach of the MEES Regulations 2015.
What are exemptions?
The valid exemptions are as listed below:
- Where all relevant improvements have been made (or there are none that can be made)
within the cost cap of £3,500 (inc. VAT);
- If the lowest cost recommended improvement would exceed the £3,500 (inc. VAT) cost cap;
- If wall insulation has been recommended, but a recognised expert is of the opinion that it would be detrimental to the property;
- If a third party withholds consent (e.g. tenant, superior landlord, mortgage company, freeholder, or planning authority);
- If, according to a recognised expert, the recommended measures would decrease the value of the property by more than 5%;
- When a person recently becomes a landlord in prescribed circumstances, a six-month exemption will apply.
The above exemptions usually last for five years, unless otherwise stated.
How to register an exemption
Penalty for breach of regulations
The Council, as the enforcement authority (EA) on the MEES Regulations, would investigate
any breach of the Regulation. Where such breach is established, the landlord would be fined up to £5,000 and a Publication Penalty would be registered on the PRS Exemptions Register in respect of the breach. A publication penalty relates to the publication of certain information contained in a Penalty Notice on the PRS Exemptions Register. More than one penalty may be imposed, up to the maximum limit of £5,000. Full government guidance can be found on GOV.UK
The potential breach and maximum penalties under the MEES Regulations are listed below:
- Where the letting of a property with an F or G rating is established for less than 3 months: £2000 fine and a publication penalty
- Where the letting of a property with an F or G rating is established for more than 3 months: £4,000 fine and a publication penalty.
- Where false or misleading information has been provided on the Exemption Register: £1,000 and a publication penalty.
- Failing to comply with any served Compliance Notice under Regulation 37 of the MEES Regulations.
Further information can be found in the Stroud Council’s Enforcement policy for imposing financial and publication penalties under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.
How to find help with improvement
You can find the recommended energy efficiency improvement work on your current EPC report. Landlords must self-fund the improvement works or use third party funding where available with maximum £3,500 spend to comply with the regulations.
For information about funding opportunities available for landlords, please visit the Simple Energy Website.
You may also be eligible for help with funding and grant eligibility. For further advice and information, please contact the Gloucestershire Warm and Well on 0800 500 3076.
Landlords may be required to obtain consent for improvement works if your property is within a conservation area or is marked as a listed property. Further advice can be obtained by contacting the council’s Planning Services on Planning@stroud.gov.uk
The Council’s Housing Renewal Team is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations and is available to offer advice and guidance to landlords and tenants.