New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force on 1 April – and research suggests as many as 17% of commercial landlords could fall foul of the new rules. However, in most of these cases, it won’t be for want of trying: it will simply be thanks to rapid changes in the regulatory environment.
What is MEES?
From the 1st April 2018, all domestic and commercial properties rented out in the private sector will have to have a minimum EPC rating of E before being let. This will be extended to existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
A small number of exemptions are permitted, including cases where tenants refuse to allow necessary upgrades. Any landlords concerned that they will be unable to meet the guidelines should register their case with the National PRS Exemptions Register. Failure to comply with the rules, or to register a valid exemption, could mean a fine of up to £4,000.
The challenge for landlords
While some landlords may struggle to implement the regulations in their properties, many more are expected not even to realise they aren’t compliant.
Research by real estate software provider arbnco has revealed that 11% of ‘E’ rated properties dropped at least one band in the last 12 months. The survey, which examined the EPC ratings of 3,620 buildings, implies that landlords are not responding to changes in energy standards quickly enough. Consequently, they could face a large fine when MEES comes into force.
The staggered introduction of the new rules represents an opportunity for property owners to engage with current tenants in advance of the 2020 deadline. Actively seeking their support on improving the property will not only open lines of communication, but also ensure renters are confident in landlords’ commitment to maintaining standards. For those whose tenancy agreements will expire in the near future, the need to make improvements for MEES could mean making broader improvements – which could increase the rental value of a property.
If tenants prove disruptive during renovations, landlords must have a carefully considered response. That means knowing your rights when it comes to challenging, evicting or enforcing debt notices on people renting your property. For information about how Dukes Bailiffs can assist you, contact us today.