Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for Tenants
It is unlikely that tenants would have heard much about Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) as this regulation directly impacts Landlords in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). However, MEES and other pieces of legislation have been put into action to ensure that all tenants enjoy a right to live/operate in an energy efficient home/building.
What is MEES?
MEES Regulations were introduced by the government as part of the Energy Act 2011 with an aim to improve the quality of private rented buildings in England and Wales. By increasing the energy efficiency of the worst performing houses/buildings, the overall CO2 emissions would be reduced, in line with the governments decarbonisation targets. From 1st April 2018, phase one of MEES came into force and as a result of this, it is now deemed unlawful to let properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below an 'E' rating.
What does this mean for Domestic/Residential tenants?
From the 1st April 2018 all private rented properties must achieve an energy efficiency rating of at least an E on their EPC, to meet the minimum standards. This will initially only apply upon the granting of a new tenancy to a new or existing tenant.
Landlords will need to take action to avoid any non-compliance penalties (estimated at £5000) and protect the value of their assets, by improving the energy efficiency of the property. If a property does not meet the minimum standards, it will be deemed unlawful for landlords to let or market their property and rent reviews could also be affected.
What does this mean for Non-Domestic/Commercial tenants?
From the 1st April 2018, it is now unlawful to grant a new lease for properties in England and Wales which do not meet the Minimum Energy Effciency Standards (MEES). The regulation also applies to lease renewals. In 2023 this regulation will be extended further to cover ALL existing commercial leases.
Work will need to be undertaken by landlords to ensure the buildings energy efficiency meets the required standards. If a commercial building does not meet the minimum standards than this will likely impact rent reviews/adjustments and the landlord may receive a financal penalty based on the rateable value of the property.
There are also implications for dilapidation assessments, where landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure the property is maintained to the standard agreed in the contract with the tenant.
MEES doesn't just stop in 2018. The Government has already held discussions to raise the standard even further to a D rating by 2025 and a C rating by 2030. However, what has already been agreed is the next steps of Domestic and Non-Domestic MEES which will be phased in over the next 5 years:
1 April 2020
The regulation will expand to apply to ALL residential privately rented property which are required to have an EPC.
1 April 2023
The regulation will be extended to include ALL existing commercial leases.
The Deregulation Act (2015) protects tenants against unfair eviction where a legitimate complaint has been raised about the
condition of their home. This includes issues about its energy efficiency.
New legislation will also affect a landlords right to evict a tenant who has a legitimate complaint concerning your energy efficiency compliance.
Shorthold tenancies granted on or after 1st October 2015 are subject to new rules brought about by Section 33 of the Deregulation Act. The rules are designed to prevent ‘retaliatory eviction’ practices and effectively make it more difficult for landlords to serve a section 21 eviction notice to tenants where complaints have been raised about the condition of your property. This would include complaints about its energy efficiency.
From April 2016, domestic private rented sector tenants were granted new rights due to the introduction of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. This means that domestic tenants can now request energy efficiency improvements to their properties, from their landlord. In addition to this, the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent to have these improvements installed.
This regulation applies to domestic properties let under longer term assured and regulated tenancies. As a Tenant you will likely be eligible to request energy efficiency improvements if you:
• Pay Rent to a Landlord
More information about the Tenants' Energy Efficiency Improvements is available from the government website
The HHSRS employs a risk assessment approach to minimise the risks of hazards to health and safety in dwellings. This helps local authorities identify and protect tenants against any potential hazards present in a dwelling. The idea behind this is to make rented accomodation healthier and safer to live in.
Excess Cold is one such hazard that can threaten the health of an occupant through low indoor temperatures. This hazard in particular is evidenced through poor heating systems, lack of thermal insulation, excess ventilation, and low energy efficiency ratins. Since MEES was announced some local authorities have been interpreting dwellings with F and G EPC rating as indicators of hazard, however this should not be automatically assumed.
Landlords must comply with any terms of improvement notices or prohibition orders, as they are responsible for the exterior and installations which take place inside a dwelling. The local authority charges for issuing these notices, and failing to comply within a specified time frame is deemed a criminal offence.