MEES deadline – 1 April 2020
Since 1 April 2018 the grant of a relevant tenancy has been unlawful where the property has an EPC rating of F or G but from 1 April 2020 Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will apply to ALL residential properties let on "relevant tenancies".
The most usual relevant tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies where properties are let to individuals for occupation as their main home. Properties let to companies or where the rent is below £1,000 pa (in London) or over £100,000pa are not relevant tenancies for the purposes of MEES.
Doing nothing is not an option.
Continuing to let a property which is below the minimum energy efficiency standard after 1 April 2020 is unlawful even if the tenancy was granted many years ago.
The local authority may impose a fine of up to £5,000 per property per breach on the landlord and details of the breach may be published on the publicly available PRS Exemptions Register.
The breach is a matter for the landlord alone and so the terms of the tenancy will still remain enforceable between the landlord and the tenant.
What should the landlord of a substandard property be doing?
Landlords must take immediate action to improve the EPC rating of the property. Easy wins include installing loft insulation and low energy lightbulbs.
Improvements can be grant funded. Where grant funding is not available, improvements up to the value of the "cost cap" of £3,500 must be paid for by the landlord.
Where funding is unavailable AND the property cannot be improved to E standard or above within the cost cap, the Landlord must still carry out all reasonable improvements and may apply for an exemption. Full details are on the gov.uk website but grounds include the high cost of necessary improvements or the fact that, despite spending £3,500 on improvements, the property still falls below an E rating. An exemption may be applied for online and will be valid for 5 years.