The lettings industry has been hit with a raft of changes in legislation and policy in recent years, including new measures aimed at enhancing energy efficiency. Navigating such reforms and understanding precisely what the rules and regulations demand can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Often the mere mention will be met with a reluctant sigh.
However, with new legislation on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which comes into effect from 1 April of this year, landlords who have not done so already, should fix on getting to grips with the changes as a matter of urgency.
From this date, landlords of privately rented properties within the scope of the MEES regulations must not renew existing tenancies or grant new tenancies unless the building meets the minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) requirements, which starts at a minimum rating of E. Alternatively, landlords can register for an exemption, details of which are outlined below.
Failure to comply with the requirements of the MEES regulations by renting out a property in breach of the rules carries substantial penalties.
Landlords should familiarise themselves with the guidance first before registering an exemption.
Prior to re-letting or serving a Section 6A notice (formally Section 21) Landlords with a property that has an EPC that is more than ten years old or who don’t have one at all, will need to act now and contact an energy assessor to obtain one.
In the first instance, landlords should audit their portfolio to understand which properties are within the scope of MEES regulations and whether exemptions might apply.
All exemptions to the minimum rating (including temporary exemptions) must be reported to the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register, which is operated by the Government.
Rules and regulations are as follows:
- Local Authorities are responsible for the enforcement and monitoring of compliance
- Exemptions are self-certified and must be accompanied by the relevant supporting evidence
- Notification can be made by a Landlord, or by an agent on a Landlord’s behalf
- Failure to register an exemption will render it ineffective and therefore invalid
- The Local Authority requires Landlords to submit evidence in support of any claim for an exemption. If they have queries or concerns, they will contact the Landlord directly
- Landlords will be in breach of the regulations if they claim an exemption to which they are not legally entitle
- If the Landlord changes after the exemption is registered, then the new Landlord must re-register the exemption
- Exemptions claimed by a Landlord may not pass over to a new owner or Landlord on any transfer; if a transfer of ownership occurs, the exemption will cease
- Exemptions will start from the day they are registered, rather than from 1 April 2018 when the minimum standard comes into operation. Additionally, there is no obligation on landlords to register exemptions before a new tenancy begins
All exemptions must be registered on the PRS Exemptions Register, available here. In addition, feedback can be sent directly to: PRSRegisterfeedback@beis.gov.uk
For both domestic and non-domestic landlords, further information is available here.
Exemptions will only last for five years, after which time they must be reviewed to see if they are still applicable. In cases where they are not, they will have to be brought up to standard in order to continue letting the property. If the exemption is lack of a tenant’s consent, then this will only last for five years or until the end of the tenancy.
Where Carter Jonas manages your property we will liaise with you regarding the compliance of your property.