Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES)
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (henceforth “the Regulations”) are designed to tackle the very least energy efficient properties in England and Wales – starting from those rated F or G on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The Regulations establish a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) for both domestic and non-domestic privately rented property in England and Wales. In relation to the non-domestic private rented sector, Part 3 of the Regulations contains the minimum level of energy efficiency provisions, which is currently set at an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of at least band E.
The minimum level of energy efficiency provisions will mean that, subject to certain requirements and exemptions:
- from 1st April 2018, landlords of domestic and non-domestic private rented properties (including public sector landlords) may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G (shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property);
- from 1st April 2020, landlords must not continue letting a relevant domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating F or G (as shown on a valid EPC for the property);
- from 1st April 2023, landlords must not continue letting a non-domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G.
In both cases this is referred to as the prohibition on letting sub-standard property. Where landlords wish to continue letting property which is currently sub-standard, they will first need to ensure that energy efficiency improvements are made which raise the rating to a minimum of E. In certain, limited, circumstances landlords may be able to claim an exemption from this prohibition on letting sub-standard property. This includes situations where all improvements which can be made have been made and the property remains below an E. Where a valid exemption applies, landlords must register the exemption on the database set up for this purpose – the Private Rented Property (PRS) Exemptions Register.
The Regulations cross refer to, and interact with, other existing regulations, including the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, the Building Regulations 2010 and the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012.
Landlords of non-domestic property which is not legally required to have an EPC are not bound by the prohibition on letting Sub-Standard Property.