Will your property be lettable in 2018?

Melanie Roberts from the Lamb Brooks Property Law Team explains the new regulations relating to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and how they will affect Landlords in the private rented sector.

As part of the Government’s continued drive to combat global warming and reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, new regulations have been introduced known as ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards’ (MEES).

The regulations will make it unlawful to let properties (both commercial and residential) in England and Wales which fail to achieve a minimum energy performance rating of “E”. This will apply to new leases, lease renewals and lease extensions alike. Any properties below this rating will be deemed as ‘sub-standard’ and they will need to undergo improvement works before they can be let.

There are some exemptions and exclusions but we are certain that the introduction of MEES will have a significant impact for a large number of landlords and property investors. It is vital that landlords are aware of which properties within their portfolios will be affected as they will need to be registered on the central PRS Exemption Register – landlords will not be able to escape sanction if they haven’t registered and provided evidence.

The regulations will apply from 1 April 2018 to the granting of any new tenancies and by April 2020 they will apply to ALL existing tenancies.

There are fixed financial penalties up to a maximum of £5,000 for landlords who let out sub-standard properties or who fail to provide sufficient evidence to qualify for exemptions. Breaches of the regulations would not invalidate the tenancy itself and rent would still be payable. For landlords with numerous properties it is vital to comply with the regulations to avoid multiple stings!

Improving a domestic home from an “F”/”G” to an “E” rating could be the case of replacing windows, improving insulation or upgrading the boiler. Not a cheap task for the landlord, particularly one with multiple properties falling below the desired EPC rating.

Our advice to landlords is to plan ahead and start a review of the energy efficiency ratings of their portfolio. This will allow time to consider the improvements required and carry out necessary works before 1 April 2018.

For further information on MEES or any other property matters please contact Melanie Roberts, Solicitor at Lamb Brooks LLP on 01256 305531 or email melanie.roberts@lambbrooks.com