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Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) for commercial landlords: what do businesses need to do with legislation coming into force

From April 2018 all commercial properties must be an EPC rating E or above if they are being leased for the first time or re-leased to a new tenant. From April 2023 this applies to all properties, whether or not they have a new lease. Here’s a guide for commercial landlords.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were introduced by the UK Government in the 2011 Energy Act. This act deemed that non-domestic landlords must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for this property and make a copy of this available to leaseholder, and that the EPC rating must be at least E rated on all buildings rented out.

The government current has a consultation open (closing June 2021) on these Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for commercial landlords again, with a plan to set out a target of EPC B rating for all commercial properties by 2030.

Currently commercial landlords are required to have an EPC E or above for their property, but this is likely to increase to an EPC B or above by 2030

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Estimates show that 18% of commercial property falls below the existing standard, with either an F or G ratings. Considerably more commercial property would fall below a new standard of EPC B rating – so most commercial landlords will need to be addressing energy efficiency in their properties.

What do landlords need to do?

If you are a commercial (non-domestic) landlord, then you will need to address energy efficiency in your building(s).

Step 1: Check your EPCs

The first step is to check whether you have an up-to-date, valid EPC certificate for your building(s). If you don’t have an EPC for your property you’ll need to find a local energy assessor who can help you with this. If you do have a valid EPC, you then need to check what the rating is.

If the property is A-E rated then you don’t need to do anything immediately .

However, it’s worth remembering that the government’s current consultation is likely to enforce EPC ratings of B and above for all commercial buildings by 2030, so you may want to get ahead of the game and start improving your energy efficiency now.

If the property is rated F or G on your EPC, then you’ll need to…

Step 2: Find out what improvements are needed

For any property rated F or G you will need to make energy efficiency improvements to comply with MEES regulations. In this situation, the first thing you need to do is have your property assessed by an energy expert who can tell you what improvements would need to be made in the building(s) to bring the EPC rating to an E or above. This will likely be a combination of improvements to your heating system, the building fabric (e.g. insulation, double-glazing), and lighting.

If that sounds like your situation, we’d recommend getting in touch with us at Energy Solutions Oxfordshire. A member of our expert team will be able to come and assess your building(s) and make a plan to bring them up to an EPC rating E or above.

If you choose to go ahead with the recommended measures, we can project manage the process for you – finding approved contractors to deliver the work, checking quality, and monitoring the works to ensure the required savings are made.

To get started email us on hello@energysolutionsoxfordshire.org with a brief explanation of your situation, and we’ll be in touch to organise a good time to chat further.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was MEES put in place?

The energy we use for heating and powering non-domestic buildings is responsible for around 12% of the UK’s emissions. Whilst regulations are in place to enforce the energy efficiency of new buildings, before MEES there was no equivalent for existing commercial buildings. This is essential to enable energy efficiency improvements to tackle the energy used and reduce the emissions across non-domestic buildings.

What is an EPC?

An EPC is an Energy Performance Certificate. It contains information about a property’s energy use and typical running costs, as well as recommendations on how to reduce energy use in that property. It gives the property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Any property that is built, sold, or rented out is required to have an EPC, and must be made available to potential tenants or buyers.

To get a new EPC for your property you’ll need to find an energy assessor near you, which you can do through the government’s advice website.

You can see if a property has an EPC by searching the EPC register with the property’s address or the EPC’s report reference number.

When do changes need to be implemented?

The timeline for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for non-domestic landlords currently looks like this:

2011 Energy Act – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) introduced.

April 2018 onwards – commercial landlords must ensure that all buildings with new or renewed leases have an EPC rating of E or above (unless exempt).

April 2023 onwards – commercial landlords must ensure all properties have an EPC above E rating, whether or not it is being newly let or re-let (unless exempt).

How will MEES be enforced?

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation. They will be issuing compliance and penalty notices with a fine of between £5,000 and £150,000.

What properties are exempt?

There are several exemptions to MEES for non-domestic landlords, which you can find in full detail on the Government’s website. The list includes:

  • ‘7 year payback’: if the landlord can show that the cost of installing a recommended improvement would be high enough that it would not pay for itself within 7 years through savings on energy bills
  • ‘All improvements made’: if a property has had all energy efficiency recommendations made, and it still does not meet an EPC rating of E and above.
  • ‘Wall insulation’: where a landlord has received written advice from an expert that cavity/internal/external wall insulation is not appropriate for their property.
  • ‘Consent’: some recommendations would require third-party consent e.g. from a local planning authority.
  • ‘Devaluation’: where the landlord has received legal advice that the energy efficiency improvements would reduce the value of the property.
  • ‘New landlord’: temporary exemption if the landlord of the property has newly become a landlord.

If you believe your F or G rated property may be exempt from MEES, you must be register this on the PRS Exemptions Register.

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