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New minimum energy-efficiency regulations for commercial landlords

Last week the government published new guidance detailing regulations regarding energy efficiency in non-domestic properties.

The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into play in April 2018 and could prevent landlords from renting their buildings to tenants if standards fall short.

Energy efficiency rating to be higher than E

According to the MEES, public and private sector non-domestic landlords may be restricted from granting tenancy to both new and existing landlords if their property falls short of EPC ratings of band F or G.

What’s more, the standards are to be tightened from 2023; landlords will be unable to lease buildings with efficiency ratings lower than E. However, the new guidance from BEIS suggests that will be a number of categories in which properties can enter the exemptions register, meaning the situation isn't quite as clear-cut. 

That said, it is still estimated that up to 20% of commercial properties in the UK would currently fail to meet the new MEES standards.

How will this affect commercial landlords?

Exemptions can be notified from as early as April 2017 and are made on a self-certification basis.

Landlords must demonstrate compliance with the renewed minimum energy efficiency scores. If they can't, they will have to carry out the relevant and necessary improvements or register an exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register to continue letting the property.

The standards published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Standards include details on which properties the MEES covers, the viability and relevance of improvements and provisions for wall insulation, exclusions and exemptions and how the minimum levels are enforced.

If found to be in breach of these guidelines, non-domestic landlords could face a maximum fine of up to £160,000 per property.

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