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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

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At a time when there is much more governmental focus on the climate change emergency, it is very timely that with effect from April 1st 2020, all properties with an existing tenant must have a valid EPC with a minimum rating of E or above. There is a civil penalty of up to £4000 that could be imposed for any breaches of this regulation.

Where a property does not reach the required E rating, the landlord is required to make as many improvements as he can, up to a maximum of £3500 per property, and there are 3 funding options available to help achieve this:

Option 1: Third party funding

If you are able to secure third-party funding to cover the full cost of improving your property to an EPC rating of E, you can, and you don’t need to invest your own funding:

  • the cost cap does not apply
  • you should make use of all the funding you secure to get your property to band E, or higher if possible. Funding can include: Energy Company Obligation (ECO); Local Authority grants; and Green Deal finance.

Option 2: Combination of third-party funding and self-funding

If you can secure third-party funding but it is less than £3,500, and not enough to improve your property to an EPC rating of E, you may need to top up with your own funds to the value of the cost cap.

Option 3: Self-funding

If you are unable to secure any funding, you will need to use your own funds to improve your property. You will never need to spend more than the maximum of £3500.

You do not need to spend the maximum if your property can be improved to an EPC rating of E for less. If you can improve your property to E for less than the cap, you will have met your obligation.

If it would cost more than £3,500 to improve your property to E, you should install all recommended measures that can be installed within that amount, then register an exemption.

If you have made any energy efficiency improvements to your property since 1 October 2017, you can include the cost of those improvements within the £3,500 cost cap.

There is some good news:

The calculations used in the energy assessment have been updated for properties with solid walls since 2017, so it may be that a F rated property with solid walls could now be E rated with no need to carry out any improvements, and a G rated property may need less improvements to bring the rating up to standard.

Our advice is to check all EPCs on older properties to make sure your Landlord does not fall foul of the new regulations.

Private Members Bill:

The Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Bill was introduced on February 7th 2020 and contains the following 3 pieces of proposed legislation:

  • Bring all fuel poor households up to EPC band C by 2030 with caveats where it is not technically feasible to achieve, or the costs are too excessive, or where people do not allow it to occur.
  • Bring all remaining homes up to EPC band C by 2035, where practicable, cost-effective and affordable.
  • Ensuring that all new heating systems installed in existing properties have a water return temperature of no more than 55 degrees centigrade.

This proposed legislation has been introduced as a result of estimates that suggest 19 million homes do not currently reach a C rating.

For more information on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) please contact us.