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Help for Residents: Information for the Private Rented Sector

In April 2018, government brought in a new Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency (MEES) Regulation. Under the current MEES regulations, every privately rented domestic property must have an EPC rating of E or above. It is a legal requirement for a landlord to have and produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when a new tenant is entering the property and they request to see it. EPCs are valid for 10 years and landlords do not need to obtain a new EPC each time a new tenant moves in. If the property has an EPC rating of F or G, the landlord must take appropriate steps to comply with the requirements of the MEES Regulations. If the property is currently empty and the landlord does not intend to let the property again, then no action is needed to be taken to meet the MEES Regulations.

After 2023, landlords must not let any building which has a EPC rating of less than an E. Unless the landlord registers for an exception.

What buildings and tenancies does MEES apply to?

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulation applies to all domestic privately rented properties if they have a specific tenancy agreement, including; assured tenancy, a regulated tenancy and a domestic agricultural tenancy.

What are the exemptions?

There are several exemptions which can be applied for by landlords if their property cannot be improved to an EPC E rating without spending more than £3,500 (including VAT), or the energy efficiency measures may damage or devalue the property (Table 3).

Exemption Notes   Length Exemption

Relevant Improvement Made Exemption

  • The property has an EPC E rating after improvements up to cost cap.
  • Or, there are no improvements which can be made up to cost cap.

They must provide:

  • Provide a copy of the report from the surveyor (if EPC was not used)
  • Details, including date of installation of all recommended improvements made
 

 

5 years

High Cost Exemption

  • No improvements can be made up to the cost cap
  • The cheapest recommended measure will exceed the cost cap

They must provide:

  • 3 quotes from qualified installers, showing costs would exceed cost cap
  • Written confirmation that the landlord is satisfied measure will exceed the cost cap
 

Wall Insulation Exemption

  • The only recommended improvements are; cavity wall insulation, external/internal wall insulation
  • AND, the landlord has written expert advice showing measures would negatively impact the fabric/structure of property

They must provide:

  • Copy of the written opinion of a relevant expert stating property cannot be improved to an EPC E due to insulation measure having negative impact on property
 

Third Party Consent Exemption

  • Improvements for the property need consent from another party
  • AND, consent cannot be obtained

They must provide:

  • Copies of correspondence/relevant documentation demonstrating consent was required and sought
  • Consent was refused/granted subject to conditions that the landlord could not reasonably comply with
 

Property Devaluation Exemption

  • The landlord can prove improvements would devalue the property by more than 5%
  • Landlords will need a surveyor that:
    • Is on the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) register
    • They advise the works will devalue the property by more than 5%

They must provide:

    • A copy of the report prepared by an independent RICS which provides evidence that the installation will devalue the property
 

Temporary Exemption

They must provide:

  • The date at which they become the landlord for the property
  • The circumstances in which they became the landlord
 

6 months

Note: Exemption data cannot be amended once the data has been submitted. All exemptions apply from the point they register. Landlords can cancel exemptions if they make improvements to improve to an E after registering for the exemption. 

If you are a private landlord, please read our news article "Grant Funding for the Private Rented Sector" to find out how you can benefit from ECO funding. 

Who enforces MEES?

The MEES Regulations are enforced by local authorities (LA), if the LA believes that the landlord has failed to fulfil their obligations under the MEES Regulations, they can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If the LA can confirm that a breach of the regulations has occurred, the landlord may receive a financial penalty. Landlords are considered non-compliant with the MEES Regulations if:

  • From 1 April 2018 – they let a domestic property to new tenants or existing tenants with an EPC rating of F or G or the landlord lets their property in breach of the MEES Regulations
  • From 1 April 2020 – if the landlord lets a domestic property with an EPC F and G rating, even if there has been no change in tenancy, or the landlord continues to let their property in breach of the MEES Regulations
  • The landlord has registered false or misleading information on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register

Once the LA has decided a breach of the MEES Regulations has occurred, they can send a compliance notice. A compliance notice can be served up to 12 months after a suspected breach occurred and the LAs may request more information from the landlord:

  • The EPC which was valid from the time when the property was last let
  • The tenancy agreement used for letting the property
  • Information on energy efficiency improvements made
  • Any Energy Advice Report in relation to the property
  • Any other relevant documents

What are the penalties?

LA decide on the level of penalty given to the landlord in breach of the regulations, up to the maximum limits set out by the MEES Regulations. The maximum amount the landlord can be fined per property is £5,000 in total. The financial penalty can be served up to 18 months after the breach has occurred and/or the LA can publish details of the breach for at least 12 months. The maximum penalty limits are:

  • Up to £2,000 and/or publication penalty for renting out a non-compliant property for less than 3 months
  • Up to £4,000 and/or publication penalty for renting out a non-compliant property for 3 months or more
  • Up to £1,000 and/or publication for providing false or misleading information on the PRS Exemptions Register

Up to £2,000 and/or publication for failure to comply with a compliance notice. 

As a tenant...

Since April 2016, tenants have the right to request reasonable and cost-effective improvements to their properties. As long as there are no up-front costs to the landlord.

All information found:

  1. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2017. Domestic private rented property: minimum energy efficiency standard - landlord guidance. [Online] Available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance

  2. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2019. The Domestic Private Rented Property Minimum Standard. [Online] Available at:

  3. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/824037/Domestic_Private_Rented_Property_Minimum_Standard_-_Landlord_Guidance.pdf

  4. Energy Saving Trust, 2019. Minimum Energy Efficiency Stanrds in thte Private Rented Sector. [Online) Available at: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/about-us/news/minimum-energy-efficiency-standards-private-rented-sector

  5. RICS, 2019. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard. [Online] Available at: www.ricsfirms.com/glossary/minimum-energy-efficiency-standard/