The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES)

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard

 

Energy Efficient HouseThe Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard or (MEES) for short has been introduced in order that property owners only rented out dwellings that met a minimum standard of energy efficiency. All rented properties need to reach no less than an “E” energy rating on the EPC.

The energy efficiency of the home is demonstrated by the energy rating on an EPC. The EPC rates a property from an A the highest, to a G the lowest.

MEES has been introduced in 2 phases, allowing property owners time to improve the properties if they failed to meet the minimum criteria.

Stage 1
The 1st phase was introduced in April 2018. Private property owners could no longer issue a new let or renew an existing tenancy contract if the EPC was an energy rating of F or G. Energy saving improvements needed to be made to the home so that it got to at least a Band “E” rating on the EPC.

Stage 2
From 1st April 2020 MEES was further extended to include not only new rentals but all current tenancies. It is now a legal condition that all rental properties need to have a valid EPC on the epc register of an E or higher, unless a valid exemption has been registered.

Landlords will need to understand their responsibilities and also make efforts to ensure their properties are compliant. Fines of up to £5,000 can be enforced depending on the form of the infringement and the length of time of the non-compliance. The legislation is absolutely not meant to be onerous, but the property owner ought to be taking appropriate actions to get the property up to necessary standard.

In specific cases, a property may be unable to conform to MEES. One example is, the costs could be prohibitive to carry out the improvements advised on the EPC. In these instances, an exemption may be registered on the PRS exemption register. Proof must be presented to support and be given an exemption.

A property owner will still have to make realistic and cost effective energy saving improvements, even if applying for an exemption.

F and G rated propertyProperties with an EPC band rating of F or G can be very expensive to operate and heat. If your tenant can’t manage to heat the home economically then the property often is simply not heated sufficiently. This can lead to other problems such as mould and also moisture build-up or condensation, and potentially poor health. These properties have a very low energy rating mostly on account of inadequate heating system and insulation

Steps to increase the rating of an F or G rated property.

1. To begin with, obtain an updated EPC.

A lot of properties have often had energy savings improvements over the years that are not showing on the latest EPC. If heating system or insulation improvements have been carried out since the last EPC, this is usually enough to push the score up to an E or above. Around 80% of properties will satisfy the MEES standard if the EPC was updated.

2. What to do if the updated EPC is still an F or G.

Once you have the EPC, get your Energy Assessor to work alongside you to determine which improvement(s) can help you reach the minimum standard at the cheapest costs. Not all improvements are equal. For instance, changing the house from single glazed windows to double glazed window produces a lot less energy rating improvement than you might think. In contrast to, adding a hot water cylinder thermostat, or improving the heating system controls can produce equally high energy rating points but at a significantly cheaper installing cost.

Don’t undertake any improvements until your Assessor informs you of exactly what the rating would be once you have made that improvement. Your Assessor is capable of doing this by running a draft EPC scenario in the software. It will determine the precise outcome and will not be guesswork. If all things considered the above, the home remains to be an F or G or the advised enhancements simply can’t be done. You would be able to register an exemption for the home on the PRS exemption register.

An exemption may be applied for any of these reasons.

1. High Cost Exemption

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If the cost of doing even the cheapest recommendation would cost more than £3,500 (inc Vat). If you are applying for this exemption, you would need to provide evidence that you have received quotations from at least 3 contractors.

The exemption will be valid for 5 years; after this time the exemption will expire and the landlord must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to meet the minimum level of energy efficiency. If this still cannot be achieved, then a further exemption may be registered.

2. The 7 Year Payback Exemption

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If the cost of the energy improvement would not pay for itself within a 7 year period.
The formula to calculate this is laid down in (Regulation 28(3)) of the building regulations.
If registering an exemption of this type, the landlord will need to provide copies of 3 quotes for the cost of purchasing and installing the measure from qualified installers, the landlord should also provide a copy of the cost calculations made to demonstrate this. It is recommended to get a Sap Assessor to provide the calculations if applying for this exemption.

3. All Improvements Made Exemption

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Where all the relevant energy efficiency improvements for the property has been made (or there are none that can be made) and the EPC rating is still an F of G.

4. Wall Insulation Exemption

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Where existing wall insulation systems are not suitable for the property and the landlord has obtained written expert advice from suitably qualified professionals. This could apply to either cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, or internal wall insulation.

The expert advice the landlord provides must be obtained from one of the following independent experts:

• an architect registered on the Architect Accredited in Building Conservation register
• a chartered engineer registered on the Institution of Civil Engineers’ and the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers
• a chartered building surveyor registered on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Building Conservation Accreditation register
• a chartered architectural technologist registered on the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists’ Directory of Accredited Conservationists.

Alternatively, if the advice is not, or cannot be, obtained from one of the above experts, advice may be obtained from an independent installer of the wall insulation system in question who meets the installer standards for that measure, as set out in Schedule 3 to the Building Regulations 2010.

5. Consent Exemption

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If consent cannot be obtained from 3rd parties connected to the installation such as the tenant, local authority, mortgage lenders etc

Once registered, the exemption will generally last 5 years; after this time it will expire and the landlord must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to meet the minimum level of energy efficiency. If this cannot be achieved then a further exemption may be registered.

Please note however that, where improvements cannot be made because consent could not be obtained from the current tenant of the property, the exemption will only remain valid for as long as that tenant remains the tenant. The improvement would then need to be made before the property is let on a new tenancy.

6. Devaluation Exemption

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To carry out the improvement would devalue the property by more than 5 per cent.
An exemption from meeting the minimum standard will apply where the landlord has obtained a report from an independent surveyor who is on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) register of valuers advising that the installation of specific energy efficiency measures would reduce the market value of the property, or the building it forms part of, by more than five per cent.

Any improvements deemed suitable for the property would still have to be carried out.

Once registered, the exemption will generally last 5 years; after this time it will expire and the landlord must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to meet the minimum level of energy efficiency. If this cannot be achieved then a further exemption may be registered.

7. New Landlord Exemption

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If the landlord is a new landlord a temporary exemption of 6 months can be applied for.
Note: all exemptions would require you to provide additional supporting evidence.

The exemption will last for 6 months from the date from which the landlord became the landlord. After 6 months the exemption will expire and the landlord must either have improved the energy efficiency of the property to at least EPC band E, or have registered another valid exemption (should one apply), if they intend to continue letting.

How to obtain an exemption.

You can apply for an exemption by either asking your Energy Assessor to apply for you as your representative. Your Assessor will charge a fee for this and the price tag would be determined by which exemption that you are trying to get. Or, if you prefer, you can apply yourself by going to https://prsregister.beis.gov.uk/.

You will need the following information.

Information required for all exemptions

• the address of the relevant rental property

• which exemption type the landlord is registering

• a copy of a valid EPC for the property.

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