Minimum energy efficiency standards

From 1 April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) have required private landlords of homes rated at Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Bands F or G to improve their property to E before issuing a new tenancy on it, unless they obtain an exemption.

From 1 April 2020 the MEES will be extended to include existing tenancies as long as the property has an EPC (unless an exemption applies). 

If you are a landlord, there are good reasons why improving the energy performance of homes you let out makes sense:  

  • Your tenants will be more comfortable, with lower heating bills, and less likely to complain or move on.

  • Your properties will get better Energy Performance Certificate ratings (EPCs), making them easier to rent out.

  • Any improvements you make will add to the value of your properties should you choose to sell them in the future.

  • There may be funding available that could help with the cost of making energy improvements.

  • If any properties you let have an EPC rating of F or G, you may need to improve them to a minimum of EPC E to comply with new minimum standards.

What is an EPC?

An EPC is usually needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented.  An EPC contains:

  • Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs

  • Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to a G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.  You can search the EPC register to check whether a dwelling has a valid certificate and what its energy rating is.

What should I do as a landlord to comply with MEES?

Firstly, you should get familiar with the guidance. There is also a handy tool available for landlords, which should guide you on what to do next, depending on the circumstances surrounding the property.

Properties with older EPCs might have already undergone work to meet the standards but the current EPC may no longer reflect the energy efficiency of the property. If this is the case with your property, then you should check the EPCs and consider renewing them.

If you are a landlord with a property with an F or G EPC rating, you should review and consider acting on the recommendations of the EPC and, if appropriate, register an exemption (see below).

Action Surrey has helpful advice and guidance on how to improve the energy efficiency of your property.

Improving the property will cost money, what can I do?

Unless exempt for other reasons (see below), since April 2019, landlords with a qualifying property must install “relevant energy efficiency improvements” using their own funding if they cannot source alternative funding. This requirement is subject to a spending cap of £3,500 (including VAT). If the landlord cannot improve their property to an EPC E rating for £3,500 or less, the landlord can apply for an exemption but should still make energy efficiency improvements up to the cost cap and then apply for an exemption on the basis that “all relevant improvements have been installed and the property remains below an E”.

Is my property exempt from the scheme?

There are several reasons where a property will become exempt from the regulations, however landlords must register this exemption and provide supporting evidence.

Government guidance provides the full details on the exemptions

You can register for an exemption online. 

Who enforces MEES?

Elmbridge Borough Council will enforce the standards for properties in this borough. For properties in Elmbridge, if we believe that the landlord has failed to fulfil their obligations under the MEES regulations, we can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If we can confirm that a breach of the regulations has occurred, the landlord may receive a financial penalty. Landlords are considered non-compliant with the MEES Regulations if:

  • From 1 April 2018 – they let a domestic property to new tenants or existing tenants with an EPC rating of F or G or the landlord lets their property in breach of the MEES Regulations

  • From 1 April 2020 – they let a domestic property with an EPC F and G rating, even if there has been no change in tenancy, or the landlord continues to let their property in breach of the MEES Regulations

  • They have registered false or misleading information on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register

What are the penalties?

We can decide on the level of penalty given to the landlord in breach of the regulations, up to the maximum limits set out by the MEES regulations. The maximum amount a landlord can be fined per property is £5,000 in total.

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