Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES)
Since 1 April 2020, the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 have made it unlawful to rent out a domestic property if it’s got an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G (unless a valid exemption has been registered on the PRS Exemptions Register).
The new regulations cover all relevant properties, even where there has been no change of tenancy. As the local authority, we have a duty to enforce these regulations.
Why were the regulations introduced?
The regulations were introduced to improve the energy efficiency of housing in the private rented sector and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.
They should help make tenants’ homes more thermally efficient, particularly for people who are vulnerable or on a low income, so they can live more comfortably and in a healthier environment with lower energy bills.
What’s an EPC?
An energy performance certificate (EPC) gives the property an energy efficiency rating. A-rated properties are the most energy efficient and G-rated are the least efficient. The certificate is valid for 10 years and must be provided by the owner of a property when being rented or sold.
If you’re a landlord and you fail to provide an EPC at the start of a tenancy, you’ll be in breach of the regulations and, as well as being subject to a penalty charge, you’ll be unable to serve a valid Section 21 notice on a tenant.
An EPC contains information about the type of heating system and typical energy costs. It also gives recommendations about how the energy use could be reduced, lowering running costs.
What do I need to do?
If you’re a private landlord, you must either:
- ensure your rented properties have an EPC with a minimum ‘E’ rating
- register a valid PRS exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register
Failure to do either of these is a breach of the regulations.
What happens if I breach the regulations?
The council investigates any potential breaches of the regulations. If you breach them, you may be subject to a penalty notice imposing a financial and/ or publication penalty.
The potenial breaches and minimum penalties are:
- letting a property with an F or G rating for less than 3 months: £2,000
- letting a property with an F or G rating for more than 3 months: £4,000
- registering false or misleading information on the PRS exemptions register: £1,000
- failing to provide information to the council demanded by a compliance notice: £2,000
You could be fined up to £5,000. A publication penalty relates to the publication of certain information contained in a Penalty Notice on the PRS Exemptions Register.
Where can I find help with improvements?
You can find the recommended energy efficiency improvements on the current EPC. You must either self fund improvements or use third party funding where available, but you’re not expected to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) to comply with the regulations.