Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations (MEES)
Landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties covered by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations if they have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E.
This means landlords with properties with an EPC rating of F or G will have to invest up to £3500 (inc VAT) to improve the energy efficiency of the property before they can rent it to new tenants, or issue a renewal to existing tenants (unless an exemption is in place).
Find full guidance for landlords on gov.uk
EPCs are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. They contain information about the energy efficiency of the property, typical energy costs and suggestions of how to reduce those costs.
Energy efficiency ratings go from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Landlords are required to provide their tenants with a copy of the EPC and can be fined if they do not get an EPC when needed.
Landlords of properties with older EPCs may have already undergone work to meet the standards and should consider renewing the EPC to show compliance.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
Alongside the MEES regulations, we also enforce minimum housing standards in the private rented sector using the HHSRS. This also applies where properties are exempt from the MEES regulations.
This means that even if a property meets an EPC rating of E, landlords still need to provide adequate heating and thermal comfort. Penalties of up to £30,000 can be issued where hazards such as excess cold are identified in a property.
Further information about HHSRS can be found on our Housing Health and Safety Rating System webpage.
Recommendations for improvements
The EPC will show recommended measures to improve the property’s energy performance and may include:
- boiler renewal
- installation of radiator thermostats
- upgrade and install of loft insulation
- install of cavity wall insulation
- install of energy efficient light bulbs
Further information on potential energy efficiency measures to meet the requirements and help to decide on which measures to install can be found on the governments selecting energy efficiency measures webpage.
Landlords who fail to meet the standards
We are actively investigating any potential breaches of the MEES regulations and enforcement action will be considered against landlords that fail to bring their property up to the required standard.
Failure to comply with the regulations can result in a fine of up to £5000.
Tell us about a property that is not energy efficient
If you believe a property is being let to tenants with an EPC rating of F or G or without an EPC, please let us know by emailing us:
Any information you provide us will be dealt with in the strictest confidence according to our privacy notice. Your details will not be disclosed to any third party.
Help for landlords and tenants
Landlords can find more help and advice about the regulations and making improvements from National Residential Landlords Association.
The Simple Energy Advice website has a useful tool to find out your obligations for any property you are letting. A PDF with guidance [pdf] 1.83MB is also available.
You may be able to get help to fund home improvements to your property. There are several grants available to households on a low income.
For more information on these grants and other energy efficiency support and advice please visit our energy efficiency page
The following websites also offer free help and advice:
- The Energy Saving Trust has lots of helpful energy saving advice and tips
- Better Housing Better Health can advise on reducing energy bills and what grants and financial assistance is available. Their helpline is 0800 107 0044
- Warmer Sussex can provide tailored energy advice
- The government backed Simple Energy Advice website has specific advice when entering property details. As well as having helpful Information for landlords they can also suggest home improvements for tenants.
Even if your property has not met the standards you may be able to register an exemption to remain compliant with the regulations.
Exemptions are linked to the landlord not the property and generally last 5 years (except for the new landlord exemption which lasts for 6 months).
The exemptions available are:
All relevant improvements made
If the property is still below EPC E after improvements have been made up to the cost cap of £3500 inc VAT, or there are no improvements that can be made. This exemption lasts 5 years.
If you have made any energy efficiency improvements to your property since 1 October 2017 you can include the cost of those improvements within the £3500 cost cap.
If no improvement can be made because the cost of installing even the cheapest recommended measure would exceed the cost cap of £3500 inc VAT. This exemption lasts 5 years.
You can apply for this exemption if the only relevant improvements for your property are cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation or internal wall insulation (for external walls) and you have obtained written expert advice showing that these measures would negatively impact the fabric or structure of the property. This exemption lasts 5 years.
Third party consent
If the improvements for your property need consent from another party, such as a freeholder, mortgagee, planning department, tenant or superior landlord and despite your best efforts that consent cannot be obtained or is given subject to conditions you could not reasonably comply with. This exemption lasts 5 years.
If you have evidence that making energy efficiency improvements to your property would devalue it by more than 5%. This exemption lasts 5 years.
Recently becoming a landlord
If you have recently become a landlord, under certain circumstances, you will not be expected to take immediate action to improve your property to EPC E. This exemption lasts for 6 months from the date you became a landlord.
7 year payback
This exemption only applies to non-domestic properties where relevant energy efficiency improvements will only be required if they achieve a payback within 7 years. The government has created a formula to calculate this.
Landlords must ensure that all required supporting information is uploaded when registering their exemption.
Details of the supporting documents needed, can be found on the government website: landlord guidance on registering an exemption
All exemptions must then be registered on the PRS exemptions register
Listed buildings and conservation areas
Historic buildings, listed buildings or buildings within a conservation area are exempt if:
- compliance with the minimum energy requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance
This is not a blanket exemption. If a building is protected it may still be possible to make improvements. This is only possible where the character or appearance is not altered.
Unacceptable alterations in most protected buildings would be:
- double glazing
- new doors and windows
- external wall insulation
- external boiler flues
There are many more low impact measures that may be acceptable. It is the owner’s responsibility to understand which works may or may not be permitted on their property.
When applying for an exemption, owners will need evidence of the following:
- all recommended measures on their EPC would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building
- that none of the recommended measures could have been carried out, to improve the energy efficiency of the building.
You can find further information from Historic England.
We also recommend that you get advice from our planning department and apply for planning permission where necessary.
Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
Where an EPC is required for an HMO and is currently rated as F or G, a condition is added to the HMO licence to ensure a new EPC is obtained to show compliance.
This is in line with legal requirements and to protect tenants from the hazards associated with cold, hard to heat homes.
Some HMOs are not required to have an EPC, for example those that have not been sold or let as a single rental in the previous 10 years.
For more information about EPCs for HMOs see the National HMO Network website.