What is MEES?

MEES is a set of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards set out by the Government for commercially-let properties.

From April 2018, new MEES rules mean a landlord cannot renew or grant a new tenancy of longer than 6 months if their property has an EPC rating of ‘F’ or lower. Anything lower will mean the landlord is liable to pay a substantial fine.

The minimum efficiency standard is there for two reasons:

  1. Making sure the UK’s housing stock is more efficient benefits the Government because it helps them reach carbon reduction targets. The Government has committed to reducing carbon emissions 57% by 2030 on 1990 levels. More efficient heating systems and better insulation means less heating required by tenants. Some current forms of energy generation are carbon-heavy and therefore lowering energy demand is better for the environment.
  2. Good news for tenants because they’re the ones paying the bills. Living in a very inefficient house means more money spent on heating – therefore it is worthwhile for tenants to encourage their landlord to install energy saving measures.

Although enforced home improvements may not be the most welcome news for landlords, it should be seen by them as a value-adding opportunity. Tenants and property developers will often take the EPC rating of the property into account before renting or buying.

What is an EPC?

An EPC – Energy Performance Certificate – measures the energy efficiency of a property. A survey is carried out, looking at things like heating systems, insulation and the effectiveness of windows and doors in blocking draughts. The property is then given a rating between A and G. The whole process normally only takes a couple of hours. The more efficient the property, the earlier in the alphabet the letter you are given.

A report is issued alongside which gives suggestions on how to improve your rating. These could include low cost measures such as switching to LED lighting, installing more loft insulation or getting smart heating controls. Pricier measures could include getting a new boiler, double glazing or having external wall insulation fitted.

What are the penalties for failing MEES?

Any landlord in breach of the standards for fewer than 3 months will be liable to pay 10% of the property’s rateable value – from a minimum of £5,000 up to a maximum of £10,000.

Any landlord in breach of the standards for more than 3 months, the penalty rises to 20% of the rateable value of the property – from a minimum of £10,000 to a maximum of £150,000.

From April 2023, the new MEES regulations will apply to all lettings – even existing ones (apart from those listed below). For more information on any of this, click here.

A small piece of advice  – steer clear of default values for technologies or energy saving measures in your home – it can sometimes be difficult to find the exact information on the model of boiler we have, for instance, or the double glazing. But estimating often leaves you with a lower rating than if you had input the real information. Even a few points can make a difference to which band you end up in, and you don’t want to risk a hefty fine when it’s avoidable. Give your EPC assessor some notice that you need help finding this information before lodging the EPC.

Which properties are exempt from MEES?

Clearly, properties which do not require an EPC will not be liable for these fines. Those that will be let for less than 6 months – i.e. holiday lets – do not need to meet the minimum requirement. It can, however, benefit both landlords and holiday makers to have warm, efficient homes. Landlords will pay lower bills and pass on fewer costs to the visitors, and holiday tenants will be more comfortable.

What about non-domestic?

Originating from the Energy Act 2011, in 2015, the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations were introduced for private rented properties. The aim of these regulations were to establish a minimum level of energy efficiency for privately rented property in England and Wales.

According to The Independent 18% of commercial properties hold the lowest EPC ratings of F or G in the UK. Non-domestic/commercial landlords that have one or more properties need to understand the updated EPC score of each property and asses this in light of the dates set-out in the new minimum energy efficiency standards.  Investors, developers, lenders or anyone what has an interest in the transactions of non-domestic properties show also be following the implementation of this legislation.

Some types of commercial buildings also exempt – again, this is mostly those that do not require an EPC. This includes industrial sites, workshops, non-residential agricultural buildings with a low energy demand, and holidays lets.

Need an EPC?

Do you need an EPC? We always recommend London EPC if you are in Southern England. If you’re elsewhere, we can still help. We have scoured the country for the best surveyors, so that we can make sure we only recommend those we really trust.

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