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Most landlords and tenants lack awareness of new energy efficiency rules

There is still a worrying lack of awareness regarding new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) being introduced next month, according to new research.

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for England and Wales. These regulations make it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption

But somewhat concerningly, a new survey, by specialist insurance firm Just Landlords, found that just 4% of landlords and tenants know about the requirements of the new MEES regulations which will prevent them renewing existing tenancies or agreeing new lets if it does not meet minimum standards.

Rose Jinks, of Just Landlords, said: “The lack of awareness around this key legislation is astounding. Landlords and tenants need to know what their EPC rating is, as it could not only help them avoid a fine, but also could save them large sums of money.

“The fact that our survey found that less than four in 10 people in the market are even aware of how improving your EPC could save them money is shocking.”

To help landlords take action to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has issued a guidance document on compliance with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard, in accordance with the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

The documents provide guidance and advice on:

+ Scope of the regulations: the steps a landlord should take to determine whether their property is covered by the regulations, and the steps they should take to ensure their property complies with the minimum level of energy efficiency;

+ Relevant improvements: how a landlord can identify appropriate energy efficiency improvements for their property;

+ No-upfront Cost Funding (domestic only): how a landlord can investigate availability of no-cost funding to cover the cost of improving a domestic property;

+ Cost effectiveness (non-domestic only): how a landlord can determine whether particular improvements would be cost effective to install in a non-domestic property;

+ Exemptions and exclusions: the exemptions framework and the steps a landlord should take to register a valid exemption;

+ Enforcement: the enforcement framework and the options open to enforcement authorities when policing compliance with the minimum standards, including information on fines and other penalty options;

+ The appeals framework: landlord appeals will be heard by the First-tier Tribunal, part of the court system administered by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service; the guidance discusses the steps a landlord will need to take to lodge an appeal, and how that process will be managed.

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  • Colin Lillicrap

    Our experience mirrors the findings described in the articled. While large property managers have long since assessed the risks MEES poses to their portfolio, smaller landlords still seem to be unaware of what is about to hit them. However not all is doom and gloom. Many EPCs weere commissioned for very low fees with the risk that the building was not properly surveyed leading to default data being used to calculate the EPC rating resulting in poor ratings. Before MEES a poor EPC rating was if little consequence, but post 1 April a poor rating could seriously reduce rental incomes and reduce the value of the property. We recommend recalculating the EPC rating for any building with a D, E, F or G rating. To see an example of how recalculating the EPC rating can help to reduce the cost of complying with MEES go to www.claenergy.solutions/mees

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