Landlords will already know that they must provide each property with an EPC before they can let it. They should also know about the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) that came into force last year. In April 2018 it became unlawful to let a property that achieved an EPC rating of an F or G unless it had an exemption. Landlords face penalties of upto £5000 for non-compliance.
Landlords were obliged to install energy efficient upgrades to their properties to raise their EPC to at least an E rating. They were, however, only obliged to do this, if the measure was free or funding was provided, such as through ECO (the Energy Company Obligation scheme). If they could not upgrade the property to an E rating without any up-front costs, they could apply for a MEES exemption.
The New MEES legislation
The MEES legislation has now changed. As of 1st April 2019, landlords will have to fund additional measures themselves. If the “no up-front costs” available measures do not bring the EPC rating up to the required E, then landlords are required to fund the upgrades. However this is currently capped at £3500 (inclusive of VAT).
For a property that does not reach the EPC rating of an E, and has an exemption, it must have a new EPC at each change in tenancy. So it the tenancy changes, it triggers the requirement for a new EPC. The landlord must again try to raise the rating to an E, and if necessary spend up to £3500 to do so.
The Future of MEES
The government has declared their wish to raise those standards even further such that the minimum standard is likely to rise to a D rating in 2025 and a C rating in 2030.
ALL domestic tenants have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to their properties. This applies to domestic properties let under longer term assured and regulated tenancies. Landlords will be unable to refuse consent to a tenant’s “reasonable” request to make energy efficiency improvements.