On the 1st April 2018 Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) arrived on the letting scene. All landlords of privately rented domestic and non domestic property in England or Wales must ensure that their properties reach an EPC rating of E before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants.
The easiest way to understand MEES is to understand the trigger points. The trigger points for MEES will be ..... granting a new tenancy to a new or existing tenant. At this point IF AN EPC IS REQUIRED for the property, then MEES rules will apply. An EPC rating below E is a 'substandard property' and it is these properties that will be restricted.
So, what's happening in 2020 that we should prepare for?
From 1st April 2020 Landlords must not continue to let a substandard property even to an existing tenant on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or Regulated tenancy. Yet again THE RESTRICTIONS WILL ONLY APPLY TO RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES WHICH ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE AN EPC OR INDEED IF YOU HAVE A VALID EPC WHICH HAS NOT RUN OUT.
Landlords that own property banded in an F or G rating will be able to apply for an exemption from complying with MEES if they can demonstrate one of the following:
· All improvements have been made to the property that can be made, but it remains a band F or G.
· Funding is not available for the improvements needed.
· Consent to undertake the works is refused by a third party, such as a local authority or the tenant.
· A suitably qualified expert provides written advice that the improvements would result in a devaluation of the property by 5% or more, or that the works would cause damage to the property.
· Exemption of 6 months for a new landlord taking ownership of a property. Evidence will be required of the purchase or inheritance.
Normally exemptions last for 5 years and will need to be lodged on the PRS exemptions register.
You can retrieve an existing EPC from the epcregister.com.
Landlords can be required to spend up to £3500 towards improving rental properties that have an F or G rating to bring them in line with MEES. Typically insulating the loft, roof or walls; upgrading the boiler; or installing low energy lighting.
Landlords can also be liable for a fine of up to £4000 and, if the property still isn't up to standard after 3 months, they could be fined up to 20% of the rateable value of the property.
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