After all the build-up, MEES is finally in effect!
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, we’ve compiled a handy catch-up guide for you to follow.
In 2015, the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations set out the requirement for domestic private rented properties in England and Wales to have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E.
On the 1st April 2018, landlords were prohibited from granting new tenancies for properties with an EPC rating below E. This includes extensions and renewals of existing tenancies, or a tenancy becoming a statutory periodic tenancy following the end of a fixed term shorthold.
From 1st April 2020, this restriction on landlords letting out sub-E rated properties will be extended to cover all existing tenancies for properties in scope of the regulations.
Landlords of properties with an EPC rating of F or G should read the guidance and take action as soon as possible.
There is currently an exemption available where the improvements cannot be wholly financed, at no upfront cost to the landlord, by means of funding provided by central government, a local authority, or any other person.
From 1st April 2020 this restriction on landlords letting out sub-E rated properties is extended to cover all existing tenancies for properties in scope of the regulations.
The Government has set out in their recently published Clean Growth Strategy that they will soon consult on plans to increase the minimum EPC rating to a D by 2025, and to C by 2030.
Whilst these basics and supplied guidance are crucial, we’ve also had a wide range of questions concerning other aspects of the legislation, notably regarding processes, fines, HMO exemptions and modifying the property to be more energy efficient, which are addressed in this all handy FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do all privately rented domestic properties need to be at EPC E by 1 April 2018?
A: No. All domestic private rental properties must be at a minimum of EPC band E by 1 April 2020 (or have a valid exemption registered for them). Between 1 April 2018 and 1 April 2020 properties will only need to meet the standard (or have a valid exemption registered) at the point at which a new tenancy is entered into. Where no new tenancy has been entered into, a private rental property may be lawfully let below EPC band E up until 1 April 2020.
Q: Are there any recommended or required materials which should be used to undertake the improvement works?
A: There are no specified materials or improvement measures; a landlord is free to do whatever they like with their property so long as the EPC rating can be raised to meet the minimum energy efficiency standard.
The most assessable source of advice would be the recommended measures section on EPC for the property, but landlords can seek advice from other suitably qualified experts if they wish.
Q: Are Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) excluded from the PRS Regulations?
A: HMOs are not excluded from the Regulations. The Regulations apply to all privately rented properties that are legally required to have an EPC, and where rooms are let on one of the qualifying types (most likely assured tenancies). An HMO will be in scope where it meets these criteria.
However, individual rooms within HMOs are not required to have their own EPC, so a property which is an HMO will only have an EPC if one is required for the property as a whole (typically this will be if the property has been build, sold or rented as a single unit at any time in the past 10 years). If an HMO is legally required to have an EPC, and if it is let on one of the qualifying tenancy types, then it will be required to comply with the minimum level of energy efficiency.
Q: How can I register an exemption?
A: Domestic landlords can register valid exemptions from 1 October 2017. The Register is an online platform and can be accessed from the Private Rented Property Minimum Standard page on gov.uk at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-private-rentedproperty-minimum-standard-landlord-guidance-documents
Q: What is the amount I could be fined for non-compliance with these regulations?
A: Each individual infringement is penalised in the following manner:
Renting out a non-compliant property and the landlord is less than three months in breach: up to £2,000 and/or publication penalty;
Three months or more in breach: up to £4,000 and/or publication penalty;
Providing false or misleading information the PRS Exemption Register: up to £1,000 and/or Publication Penalty;
Failure to comply with a compliance notice: up to £2,000 and/or Publication penalty. There is a maximum level of penalty which applies to each property. This is set at £5,000. This means that if, for instance, a landlord is fined £2,000 for being in breach of the regulations for less than three months, and they continue to let the property below the minimum standard after three months, the most they can be fined for a three months or more breach, will be £3,000. £5,000 in total.
If you would like further guidance, or have any other concerns with the legislation, we’ve released an all-knowing and in-depth guide which you can read here.