From 1st April 2018, building owners will now need to comply to new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) – this affects all non-domestic privately rented properties across England and Wales.
The new regulation, enforced by Local Weights and Measures Authorities, means buildings must meet the minimum acceptable Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E from April 2018. From this date it will be illegal to grant new tenancy for any ‘sub-standard’ property which falls below the minimum acceptance criteria. Any landlord seen flouting the new regulations will be subject to a fine up to £150,000.
An EPC provides information about a property’s energy consumption and typical energy costs, along with recommendations on how to reduce energy use and reduce energy costs.
Why is legislation being introduced?
The regulations are part of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. This is an element of the government’s carbon reduction commitment and target of cutting CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030.
Government figures show that energy consumption in non-domestic buildings accounts for 12% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. While significant progress has been made in tackling the energy performance of new buildings, existing buildings lag behind and since around 60% of existing stock is expected to remain in existence in 2050, it is deemed that action to drive energy efficiency is required.
Since it is tenants who are generally affected by higher energy bills from energy inefficient properties, some landlords have previously been reluctant to make green improvements, but MEES now places the responsibility on landlords to raise the EPC ratings of their commercial buildings, or suffer financial and reputational loss.