In this guide
MEES – an essential guide for landlords
What is an Energy Performance Certificate
How to get compliant with MEES
What to do if your property has an F or G rating
Mees and EPC rating C
What Is The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard?
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard is a regulation that requires landlords to ensure their properties reach at least an ‘E’ rating on an Energy Performance Certificate.
The regulations came into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies on 1st April 2018. It sets a minimum energy efficiency rating for domestic and non-domestic rented properties.
The goverment proposes to raise the mininum standard to a ‘C’ EPC rating from April 2025. This will indeed be a challenge , especially for landlords with older properties.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what the MEES is, how it might affect you as a landlord, and what you can do to ensure your property meets the required standards.
An EPC, or energy performance certificate, is a document that gives information on the energy efficiency of a property.
It looks at factors like insulation, heating systems, and construction materials used in order to measure the total amount of energy needed to keep the property warm and calculate its carbon dioxide emissions.
An EPC is prepared by an accredited assessor and is required for anyone buying, selling or renting out residential or commercial properties in the UK.
It provides essential information that can help occupants make informed decisions about the energy performance of their property and allow them to compare their energy costs with those of similar buildings.
For rentals an EPC is a legal requirement
It is a legal requirement if renting or leasing a property. It is the responsibility of the landlord to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate.
All certificates are kept as a digital certificate, similar to car mots and car tax, on a government portal at https://www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate. You should check here first to see if there is a valid certificate registered.
The 3 certificates that a landlord must hold are:
- Energy performance certificate – valid for 10 years.
- Gas safety check – valid for 1 year.
- Electrical installation condition report (ECIR) – valid for 5 years.
The absense of any one of these certificates may invalidate any insurances a landlord may have.
How to get compliant with MEES
The first thing you need to do is find out where on the EPC rating scale your property is.
- Check if you have a valid EPC.
- If you do not have an EPC, get one done straight away.
- If you have a valid certificate and it is currently rated between an A and E, then you’re compliant. However if it is a D or E, you should consider improving the rating to a C to future proof yourself from any subsequent legislation.
- If you have an EPC rating of an F or G then your property cannot legal be rented then you are going to have to take steps to improve the rating.
What to do if your property has an F or G rating on the EPC
We have a more detailed article which explains why some properties rate poorly but more importantly what to do about it. You can find step by step instructions by going to either
EPC Rating Band G
Mees and EPC rating C
The goverment proposes to raise the minimum energy efficiency standard target to an EPC rating of a C from April 2025.
This has caused many landlords to start panicking.
As accredited domestic energy assessors, we currently advise landlords that the proposed C rating is just that, proposed. Our feeling is that it won’t be finally brought into legislation, here’s why:
An EPC rating of a C, is a very high rating as far as an EPC is concerned. With the current average UK property having a rating of a D60, why should rented properties be expected to be better than that and have to acheive a C69.
How difficult is it to get to a C rating
The difficult level is very much dependant on the construction type of the property and it’s age. Below is a rough breakdown of the difficulty level.
With around 38% of the UK housing stock having being contructed before 1940*, this will have a massive impact on whether a landlord sees it as viable to continue renting out their properties. With the already current shortage of housing, raising the MEES to a C is likely to exacerbate the problem.
I would say there is a degree of scare factor being used in this goverment proposal. When the first minimum energy efficiency standard was first brought in, the proposal then was to have all rental properties acheiving a D rating.
However, after consultation with industry, an E rating was finally settled on. I believe this again is a similar situation, where I believe that the goverment will settle on a D rating being the acceptable rating. A D rating is still not easy but is achievable in most cases.
The MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) exemptions offer landlords a way to avoid sanctions when they cannot bring their rental property up to the minimum energy efficiency standards.
There are currently 6 grounds under which an exemption can be applied for domestic properties:
- ‘High cost’ Exemption
- ‘All Improvements Made’ Exemption
- ‘Wall Insulation’ Exemption
- ‘Consent’ Exemption
- ‘Devaluation’ Exemption
- ‘New Landlord’ Exemption
High cost Exemption
If the cost of making even the cheapest recommended improvement would exceed £3,500 (inc. VAT).
This only applies to domestic properties.
All Improvements Made Exemption
Reasons for exemption can range from lack of technical feasibility due to the building’s unique structure, installation of higher grade insulation being cost-prohibitive, or because works would lead to damage of a building’s listed status.
Landlords must register such exemptions with their local authority and provide proof that it is justified within six months. Property owners should note that once an exemption expires, they will be expected to undertake any need improvement works immediately or risk facing possible enforcement action.
Wall Insulation Exemption
There is a special provision for circumstances in which cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation systems, and internal wall insulation systems should not be installed.
The special provision is that a recommended energy efficiency measure is not considered to be a relevant measure where it is:
- cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation or internal wall insulation (for external walls), and
- where the landlord has obtained written expert advice indicating that the measure is not appropriate for the property due to its potential negative impact on the fabric or structure of the property (or the building of which the property forms a part).
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 a detailed advise report cannot be provided by any of the above then advise from an accredited installer of the insulation system can be used. The advise should state why the system is not suitable for the property.
If consent is required from a 3rd party to be able to undertake the recomended improvement, but consent cannot be obtained.
There could be numerous examples of this but a couple of examples are shown below:
Where permission to install solar panels is refused by a local authority due to maintaining the asthetics of a conservation area.
Consent is withheld from a superior landlord where the landlord is themself a tenant. Consent may also be required from the current tenant of the property or other tenants depending on the provisions of the tenancy or tenancies.
A landlord can be exempted from the minimum standard if he has received a report from an independent valuer on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) registry advising that specific energy efficiency measures will reduce the property’s market value or the building it is part of by more than 5%.
New Landlord Exemption
In exceptional circumstances where a person has unexpectedly become a landlord, a temporary exemption for a period of 6 months can be applied for.
After 6 months, the landlord must prove that the property has improved its energy efficiency at least to a minimum EPC Band E or the landlord has applied for another valid exemption (if applicable), if they want to continue letting.
The minimum energy efficiency standard may seem as another red tape regulation that landlords have to deal with. But with the governments drive to reduce CO2 emissions and reducing energy consumption in homes, it is something that is going to be a part of being a professional landlord.
One important partner in your contact list should be your EPC assessor. Your assessor can advise on the best and most cost effective way for you to comply with MEES, ulitimately saving you money and unnessary headaches.