Energy Efficiency (MEES) Regulations
In 2018, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations were introduced to improve the energy efficiency of the worst privately rented properties in England and Wales. These properties can affect the health of tenants, impose unnecessary energy costs on occupiers and lead to fuel poverty.
Landlords must not continue to let a substandard residential property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. Energy efficiency improvements must be made to these properties.
The government has issued MEES guidance for landlords.
The government is considering raising the minimum EPC rating to a C from 2025 for new tenancies and 2028 for all tenancies. You can read more in the consultation document.
Landlords must ensure that all properties have a valid EPC and that rented properties meet at least an E rating, unless a valid exemption has been registered.
Recommendations for energy efficiency improvements can be found on the EPC for the property.
If a private sector landlord continues to rent a property with an EPC rating of F or G, a Compliance Notice and a Penalty Notice can be issued to the landlord, with a maximum penalty of £5000.
Alongside the MEES Regulations, the Housing Act 2004 gives Local Authorities the power to enforce minimum Housing Standards in the private rented sector using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
The EPC rating of a property cannot be considered in isolation. Even if a property meets an EPC rating of E, landlords will need to provide adequate heating and thermal comfort. Local Authorities can prosecute or issue penalties of up to £30,000 when hazards including excess cold are identified in a property and not rectified.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. Before a property is marketed to sell or rent, an EPC for potential buyers and tenants must be provided.
Landlords can be fined if they don’t get an EPC when they need one.
You can check your EPC rating and find local EPC assessors on the EPC Register.
Are some properties exempt from the MEES Regulations?
Some properties that are legally required to have an EPC and are let on a relevant tenancy type and cannot be improved to meet the minimum E rating, may be exempt from MEES Regulations.
Exemptions are defined as:
- High cost exemptions.
- 7-year payback exemptions.
- All improvements made exemptions.
- Wall insulation exemptions.
- Consent exemptions.
- Devaluation exemptions.
- New landlord exemptions.
The landlord must register the exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register.
More information about the exemptions can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Listed buildings and conversions
Historic Buildings, Listed Buildings or buildings within a conservation area are exempt if "compliance with the minimum energy requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance". This is not a blanket exemption however. If a building is protected, it may still be possible to make improvements. This is only possible where the character or appearance is not altered.
Unacceptable alterations in most protected buildings are:
- Double glazing.
- New doors and windows.
- External wall insulation.
- External boiler flues.
However, there are many more low impact measures that may be acceptable. It is the owner's responsibility to understand which works may be permitted on their property.
When applying for an exemption, owners will need to prove that:
- all recommended measures on their EPC would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building
- none of the recommended measures could have been carried out, to improve the energy efficiency of the building.
Owners of these properties should seek advice from the planning department and apply for planning permission where necessary.
Further information is available on the Historic England website.
What help is available?
Derby City Council is working in partnership with Warmer Derby and Derbyshire. Whether the property has an F or G rating, or it meets minimum standards but improvements are planned, Warmer Derby and Derbyshire can advise on how to make the whole property more energy efficient.
For further information, please telephone 0800 677 1332 (freephone) or email email@example.com.
The government has recently announced a Green Homes Grant Scheme. If your application is successful, you'll receive a voucher to help cover the cost of making energy efficiency improvements. The scheme is now open and you may be able to apply for the scheme providing that the rented property has at least the minimum EPC rating of E.
What is the Council doing?
We are proactively investigating any potential breaches of the MEES Regulations. Enforcement action will be taken against landlords that fail to improve the EPC rating of a rented property to at least an E and/or do not comply with a Compliance Notice.
A penalty of up to £5,000 can be issued. If you believe a property is being rented out that does not meet the regulations, please let us know.