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19 November 2018

King West

Changes to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

The Government has published a response to the consultation period brought to initiate changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards of Domestic Rented Properties.

The Government’s drive for an 80% reduction in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has, this year, led to changes to the minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) that are designed
to tackle the least energy efficient properties in England and Wales. As the UK’s Government work towards a lower carbon, more energy efficient economy, property owners will have to meet strict new energy standards from early 2019.

It is hoped that changes to MEES will improve the situation for both landlords and tenants: conditions of properties and therefore ongoing maintenance costs for landlords, whilst reducing energy bills for tenants. The costs of improvements were initially supported by the Government’s Green Deal, but following its collapse, there was no incentive for landlords to fund improvements.

The Government released a response to the consultation process at the beginning of November. The consultation, which opened in December 2017, sought to provide a solution that was appropriate to both sides but still targeted the prohibition of letting a domestic property which has an EPC rating of band F or G after 1st April 2018, or the continued letting of such a property after the 1st April 2020. During the consultation period, it was suggested that a landlord’s contribution of up to £2,500 per property to make efficiency improvements should be increased by 40%.

The published response to the consultation period states a number of key changes. These include:

  • Increasing the cap to £3,500 landlord contribution towards efficiency improvements, required to meet the MEES Regulations
  • Remove the current ‘no cost to landlord’ provision and curtail existing ‘no cost’ exemptions so that these will end on the previously planned date of April 2020
  • Establish a new ‘high cost’ exemption levy for where a property cannot be brought up to the minimum E standards within the £3,500 expected contribution from the landlord
  • Removal of the consent exemption where a tenant has withheld consent to the Green Deal finance plan
  • The amended regulations will be ‘live’ for a property upon a new tenancy being granted to a new tenant or a new tenancy being granted to an existing tenant
  • Once the ’backstop’ date of 2020 is reached, the amended regulations will apply to all privately rented property
  • The consultation on proposals to amend MEES sought opinion from across England and Wales. 198 written responses were received from a variety of organisations, groups and individuals. The views were wide-ranging, with some providing depth of thought around specific issues and others remarking on more strategic, overarching issues.

    Following Parliament’s acceptance of the amendments when they are laid at the earliest opportunity, Government has pledged to review the effect of the 2015 regulations, and its amendments, at no less than five-yearly intervals.

    If you are a landlord and are in need of advice or support regarding your requirements to adhere to MEES or require guidance in reference to the amendments, in the first instance, please contact James Douglas at the King West Market Harborough on jdouglas@kingwest. co.uk or by calling 01858 435 970.

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