By Kamran Shah, Partner, Penman Sedgwick LLP

Kamran Shah Penman Sedgwick solicitors WatfordLandlords Take Note: on 1st April 2023 the next stage of the 2015 Regulations relating to MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) will come into force.

MEES were introduced by the government as part of their programme for tackling climate change: buildings account for a significant amount of the nation’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

MEES seek to impose minimum energy efficiency standards for properties by reference to the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of the property, and different rules apply to domestic and non-domestic properties. (There are some exemptions: some types of property, tenancy and landlord will not be caught by MEES. Please contact us for further advice if required.)

The first stage of MEES took effect on 1st April 2018: a landlord of sub-standard non-domestic premises (i.e. with an EPC rating of F or G) cannot lawfully grant a new lease to a tenant, without a legitimate reason, namely that all relevant energy efficiency improvements that have been made (or there are none that can be made), or an exemption applies (and in either case the landlord must register the details on the PRS Exemptions Register).

The second stage takes effect on 1st April 2023: a landlord of premises with an EPC rating of F or G cannot continue to let the premises, without a legitimate reason (as above).

Action required: Landlords should check the EPC Register to see whether there is a current EPC applying to their premises. If there is, and the EPC rating is less than E, improvements should be made to raise the EPC rating – or if none can be made, the landlord must register this on the PRS Exemptions Register. Failure to do this could result in enforcement action being taken.

If there is no current EPC (e.g. because it was not required when the lease was granted or has expired since) MEES will not apply. Landlords should therefore think carefully before obtaining a new EPC – and consider seeking to control others (e.g. the tenant) from commissioning a new EPC.

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