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What’s going on with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards?

By: Kelly Bellerson

Commercial properties are now required by law to have an energy performance rating of E or above.

However, just one day before the legislation came into force the Government quickly backtracked on their Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for residential properties – due to change in 2025…

Why have commercial MEES changed?

Commercial properties are now required by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate showing an E rating or above. Anything below an E and landlords could face fines of up to £150,000. This came into effect on April 1st, 2023.

This is in line with the Government’s 2050 Net Zero target, aiming to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 100% on 1990’s levels.

The built environment is one of the largest greenhouse gas producers in the country, and the Government is keen to reform this by making properties more energy efficient – ultimately reducing the industry’s carbon emissions.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards was introduced in 2015 entitled Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England & Wales) which later became known as MEES.

Previously only aimed at domestic builds, legally requiring them to have an EPC E rating or above, this has now extended to commercial properties for the first time.

What’s happened to domestic MEES?

On March 31st, one day before commercial EPC requirements were due to change, the Government announced the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for residential properties will be delayed by three years.

EPC requirements for homes across the UK were expected to change in April 2025, but now the EPC C minimum will not be enforced until April 2028 where landlords face significant fines if their property does not meet MEES by then.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero originally planned for newly let rentals to have a minimum EPC C rating by 2025, extending to all other domestic properties in 2028.
However, all domestic properties will now need to have an energy performance certificate of C or above by April 2028 instead.

Issues with the proposed system

In addition to extending domestic MEES to April 2028, the Government have proposed a new scheme which could see a spend cap of £10,000 and fines of up to £30,000 if landlords do not comply.

The previous spend cap for energy efficiency upgrades was £3,500 where landlords were not expected to spend over this limit.

A threshold of £10,000 would mean this is the amount landlords would need to spend on upgrades before applying for an exemption if the property still did not meet the new MEES.

Whilst no decision has been made yet, this proposal has prompted concern amongst landlords as rising costs, labour shortages, and higher inflation rates continue to provide an unstable economic climate.

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