31st May 2017
Landlords, Are You Ready For The New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards?
Landlords should start taking measures to ensure their properties comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) that means it will be unlawful to let a property with a poor energy rating from 1 April 2018.
From that date it will be illegal to rent a property with a new lease or renewal of an existing lease that falls below a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of an E. The regulations then apply to all existing leases after April 1 2020.
If the property falls below this EPC rating, it would be deemed ‘substandard’ and illegal to rent.
Failure to comply means that after the April deadline, properties that do not meet the minimum standards cannot be re-let until improvements are made. The impact for landlords of having an illegal property are serious, with enforcement by Trading Standards which can impose a fine up to a maximum of £4,000.
Act now to avoid being slapped with a hefty fine
With the clock ticking, and depending on the volume of work necessary to meet compliance with the regulations, landlords should now be addressing the upcoming changes. Our advice to landlords is to check the energy efficiency of their property portfolios and take simple measures to boost the efficiency of any poorly performing property, before they become illegal to let.
The first step is to ensure properties have a valid and up-to-date EPC that takes account of any changes and improvements made to a building. Once poor performing buildings are identified, landlords can improve their rating with a few energy efficiency measures if not already put in place.
Landlords should review their EPCs now, as even properties that currently have an EPC rating of E may be at risk from the regulations as the standard for achieving an E grade has changed since EPCs were first introduced. In some cases, the EPC may just need updating if improvement works have already been carried out but the EPC wasn’t updated since the initial certificate.
Once landlords have their properties assessed, they can schedule in boosting energy efficiency to coincide with any maintenance and redecoration work at the end of the tenancy. Although there is cost and effort involved, energy efficient properties will have greater appeal to investors and this will reflect in improved values.
Cost effective ways to boost energy efficiency:
- Most of a building’s heat is lost through poor sealing of doors and windows and through poor insulation in the roof and walls. Checking and renewing or adding new window and door seals can eliminate drafts, while insulation, if missing in attics can be installed or existing insulation thickened to reduce heat loss from roofs. Cavity wall insulation should also be considered, but this can be disruptive to install.
- Installing low energy lighting – LED spots and/or compact fluorescent lights, which fit into existing light sockets are quick and easy to install.
- The installation of modern compact combi boilers which are considerably more energy efficient should also be considered.
- Consider installing a smart meter. You can see the effect of reducing energy immediately via your smart energy monitor which will help you to make better choices and start saving money. Plus you'll receive accurate bills without submitting a meter reading as your smart meter will send us regular and accurate readings of your energy usage automatically.
We have noticed interest from our clients regarding this now it is less than 12 months away and we are busy advising them on the necessary steps to take to ensure they are compliant. We know this can be a huge challenge but we can offer advice and support as we are up to date on the new energy efficiency rules, and our maintenance department can help carry out the necessary works to make your rental properties more energy efficient.