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Are you ready for the new minimum energy efficiency standards?

If you fail to take action to ensure that your rental properties comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) being introduced next year, you can’t say you weren’t warned about it!

Over the past 12 months or so, various experts have offered readers various reminders and top tips to encourage all landlords to take measures to ensure that their properties, both domestic and commercial, will comply with MEES.

Adam Kingswood, head of Nottingham-based Kingswood Residential Investment Management, is the latest expert to urge landlords to be prepared for the changes, which come into force from 1 April 2018, at which point it will be illegal to let or lease a residential or commercial property with a poor energy rating.

With the clock ticking, and depending on the volume of work necessary to meet compliance with the regulations, Kingswood believes that landlords should now be addressing the upcoming changes.

Failure to do so could have adverse legal and financial consequences, as after the April deadline properties that do not meet the minimum standards cannot be re-let until improvements are made. If owners re-let the property, they could face a penalty fine of up to £5,000 for domestic properties and £150,000 for non-domestic properties.

Kingswood said: “With less than 12 months to go until the new legislation comes into place, it is important that landlords put plans in place to ensure that their properties meet the required standards. “We have noticed interest from our clients regarding this now it is less than 12 months away and we are busy advising them on the necessary steps to take to ensure they are compliant.”

Introduced with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of private rented properties, MEES requires all buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, in England or Wales to achieve at least an ‘E’ rating on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before they can be leased or rented.

Kingswood added: “Landlords whose properties currently fail to meet this minimum standard must undertake an energy efficiency programme of works to ensure compliance. Landlords should review their EPCs now, as even properties that currently have an EPC rating of “E” may be at risk from the regulations as the standard for achieving an “E” grade has changed since EPCs were first introduced.” 

Putting into place an action plan to lift the EPC rating of at risk properties by making strategic and well-targeted improvements may help landlords to reduce the cost implications of achieving compliance, according to the letting expert. 

He advises that the first step is to verify the accuracy of any existing EPC report. EPCs may well have been rated incorrectly due to flawed assumptions made by the software or improvement works that will improve the EPC rating may have been carried out without the certificate being renewed.

He continued: “In some cases, the EPC may just need updating if improvement works have already been carried out but the EPC wasn’t updated since the initial certificate.

“With time flying by before the introduction of MEES in April 2018, having a well formulated energy action plan in place and working through it now, may help to give landlords peace of mind knowing that their properties are compliant or that steps are in hand to address the issues.” 

  • Colin Lillicrap

    I fully agree with Adam Kingswood's advice to verify the accuracy of existing EPCs. One option would be to recalculate the EPC rating using dynamic simulation software instead of the iSBEM tool issued by the government. Dynamic simulation software allows more features of the building to be accurately modelled which could lead to an improved rating. This can be particularly important for air conditioned building which have significant self shading or shading from surrounding buildings. Colin Lillicrap Associates uses DesignBuilder DSM software to re-calculate EPC ratings and advise on the most cost effective package of improvement measures where a building needs to be improved to achieve an E or better rating.

  • Colin Lillicrap

    I am surprised that there has been no other comment on this important article by Adam Kingswood. Are landlords not concerned about the impact of MEES on their business? Properties which have a current EPC showing an F or G rating will need to be improved before 1 April 2018. Time is running out to plan and implement the necessary improvements. As a first step the EPCs should be re-calculated using the latest data on the property including any improvements since the EPC was issued. We have many years experience of using the approved software tools to accurately calculate the EPC rating and make recommendation that go beyond those in the EPC recommendation report and back them up with a business case based on independent estimates of cost and payback.

  • Colin Lillicrap

    Colin Lillicrap Associates has launched a new web site www.claenergy.solutions describing our bespoke services to landlords who need to urgently improve those buildings in their portfolio with F or G EPC ratings.

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