Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
All about MEES and support available
The District Council has launched a new initiative, funded by Government, to support private-sector landlords working to improve the standard and energy efficiency of the homes they let whilst also meeting their obligations under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations.
Free advice and a limited number of free home energy surveys are now on offer to help landlords.
Government grants may also be available to help landlords upgrade and refurbish their properties, making the homes they let more comfortable and affordable for their tenants. Advice is free, and landlords can discuss their eligibility for, and the availability of, financial support towards these improvements.
For free advice on the grants available, or to book a free home survey, contact the Council’s delivery partner Better Housing Better Health Service (https://www.bhbh.org.uk/)
What is MEES?
The domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are regulations that apply to landlords. They are designed to ensure that homes let to tenants are energy efficient and provide occupants adequate levels of thermal comfort. The MEES are enforced by local authorities. Landlords who are not compliant with the MEES may be served a compliance notice which could lead to a financial penalty.
Who does the MEES apply to?
The MEES regulations applies to:
- Properties with an assured tenancy
- Properties with a regulated tenancy
- Properties that are required to have an EPC rating
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency of a building. It uses an A to G rating system which allows prospective owners and tenants to consider the affordability of a property in terms of the likely space and hot water heating and lighting energy costs. Landlords must provide tenants a free copy of the EPC for the property they are renting. It is important that an EPC survey is carried out by an accredited domestic energy assessor - you can search for an accredited assessor using the EPC Register.
A home’s EPC will helpfully include recommendations on what measures can be installed to have the greatest benefit to its occupants and will include, for example, roof, window and floor insulation, draught proofing, low-energy lighting.
How does an EPC relate to MEES?
The MEES regulations currently require homes to have an EPC rating of A-E if they are to be let. Anything below this rating (F-G) cannot be let out to tenants without obtaining an exemption. It is also a legal requirement for properties with existing leases and tenancies to have a minimum EPC rating of E.
If landlords have properties with an EPC of F or G, they must carry out works to improve its energy efficiency, so improving living conditions for the tenants. There is a cap, and landlords are not required to spend more than £3,500 on energy-efficient improvements. If landlords cannot improve their property to an EPC rating of A-E for less than £3,500, they should make all the improvements they can before registering their property for an all-improvements-made exemption. In doing this, landlords remain compliant with the MEES regulations.
An EPC is not required, and MEES therefore not enforceable, on any property that was occupied before 1 October 2008 and continues to be occupied by the same tenant.
Government guidance on MEES can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance
Why is an energy efficient property important?
Living in an energy-efficient home helps both tenants and landlords:
- Improving internal levels of thermal comfort improves health and wellbeing;
- Saving money on energy bills is important for tenants and also reduces the risk of rent defaults, particularly if the cost of energy rises sharply;
- Reducing carbon emissions (if using fossil-fuels as a source of energy) is important for all;
- Better energy efficiency reduces the risk of damp and mould, which protects tenants’ health, but also better preserves the home’s structure and decoration.