1 st April saw the start of a change in legislation with regard to energy efficiency in privately rented properties. With 160 existing pieces of legislation for landlords to follow it is understandable that this may have been overlooked or, as we are finding, that some landlords are not even aware of this change. To ensure you don’t get caught out, we have put together a brief overview of the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
What’s with the E?
As you’re aware, any property for sale or rent needs to have a current Energy Efficiency Certificate (EPC). The difference now for any privately rented property is that it needs to meet a minimum standard of E before it can be let. This includes new rental properties, new tenancies, and renewals. And as of 1 st April 2020 landlords will not be able to continue to let properties with an EPC rating of F or G.
Why the change?
It has been noted that a share of the UK’s least energy efficient homes are found in the private rented sector. The government hopes that by introducing the new minimum standard tenants will benefit from reduced energy costs, especially those who are renting an older property. They also hope that the change will reduce greenhouse emissions as well as lower maintenance costs for landlords.
An additional benefit is the resulting tenant satisfaction, and in an era where the private rental sector is continuing to grow, it will make your property more attractive to any prospective tenants, as well as helping to reduce void periods.
Raising your standards
If you’re already thinking that the costs for improvements to your properties to meet this new minimum standard could be a huge financial strain, we must point out that you’re not expected to finance these costs yourself. There are third party resources you can tap into such as local authority improvement grants and the Green Deal.
Before you start any works we advise that you make future-proofing plans, as it is suggested that the minimum standard will increase again in the near future. It would therefore make sense to ensure your property’s energy efficiency rating is above an E to prevent subsequent void periods in the future.
There are a number of exclusions that apply, such as social housing, places of worship, property and buildings where changes to improve the energy efficiency would alter the appearance and character of the property, as well as temporary buildings.
What happens if you don’t raise your standards?
Should you wish to let a property that no longer meets the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, you could be issued with a compliance notice in the first instance, or a financial penalty.
Please remember this is now a legal requirement and therefore should not be ignored; it is worthwhile reviewing your portfolio and putting a plan together to ensure that all your properties will be compliant going forward.
All our lettings teams are on hand to advise you on MEES and another other issues related to the private rental sector. Call into your local branch of Alexander & Co today to find out more.