Understanding MEES for Leicester Landlords
Regulations relating to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into force in April 1 of this year, making it illegal for landlords to rent out the majority of properties which don’t meet at least an ‘E’ Energy Performance Rating.
This is part of a government initiative aimed at lowering carbon emissions as moves are made towards some ambitious targets which it wants the country to hit by 2050. These aims include getting to a stage where all builds emit almost no carbon emissions as well as getting diesel cars out of circulation. In the longer term, the government wants properties to all have an ‘A’-rated energy performance certificates (EPCs).
There is now a legal obligation for agents and landlords of commercial and residential properties in Leicester – and across the rest of England and Wales – to not rent out or renew a lease if the property has only achieved an EPC rating of either F or G. The change also applies in the case of sub-lettings, meaning that tenants who want to make use of unwanted space also have to comply with the regulations.
Leicester landlords failing to comply with the new rules could face financial penalties of between £2,000 and £150,000. Despite this, some figures suggest that as many as 20 per cent of commercial properties in England and Wales have not met MEES.
In order to help landlords prepare for the April 1 deadline, the government did publish guidance on MEES, although there have been ongoing discussions about some grey areas and complications, including those related to retail properties, listed buildings and voluntary EPCs.
Exemptions to the regulations may be important to some landlords whose properties only meet F or G standards. These include properties with short leases of six months, for example, and those properties with leases lasting for 99 years or more.
MEES is only applied to properties which are rated as either E or F, but it is also worth noting that the methods now used in the preparation of EPCs have also become better and more stringent. This means that an E-rated property may be reassessed in the current climate and could be downgraded to an F or G. This may particularly affect landlords with properties which were originally rated not long after the EPC regulations were first introduced in the period between 2008 and 2009.