Do you own and rent out commercial property, such as an office, shop, or warehouse? If so, you need to know about the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations, which are due to come into effect from April 2018. MEES, is a piece of legislation that requires all privately rented commercial properties to have an energy performance rating of E or above. The legislation applies to all new leases agreed after 1 April 2018.
BACKGROUND TO MEES: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
MEES comes into force as a result of the Energy Act 2011, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. It’s part of the Government’s drive to cut carbon emissions by 40% or more, by the year 2030. The minimum standard specifies that commercial properties rented in the private sector must be rated A, B, C, D or E in their Energy Performance Certificate.
Landlords with buildings rated F or G will be required to take measures to improve their energy ratings, or may face fines of up to £150,000.
ARE YOU AFFECTED BY THE NEW LEGISLATION?
The MEES regulations will affect you if you own a commercial property in England or Wales that is privately rented to tenants; where a tenancy is due for renewal and/or if you are re-letting your property (even to the same tenant). There are some exceptions:
- Property that does not currently require an Energy Performance Certificate is exempt. This includes places of worship, temporary buildings, and some listed buildings.
- Short-term leases of less than 6 months aren’t covered by MEES.
- Long-term leases of over 99 years are also exempt.
If you own property outside England or Wales, MEES does not cover your buildings, but there may be similar legislation that you should be aware of.
WHAT ACTION SHOULD YOU TAKE?
You will need to show that your commercial properties comply with MEES, with an Energy Performance Certificate rated E or above.
- Check the energy efficiency of your property by ordering a new Energy Performance Certificate. You can check the register by visiting https://www.ndepcregister.com/. Even if you have had one in the past, an up-to-date check will give you a rating that’s based on current performance, giving you peace of mind that you comply with the regulations – or warning you to take action if the building falls short.
- If your property is currently F or G rated, you’ll need to plan improvements to make your building more energy efficient. These might include installing new double glazing or insulation.
- Keep a record of your EPC ratings for each of your properties, and make a plan to ensure your buildings continue to comply with the minimum standards dictated by MEES.
GET HELP TO COMPLY WITH MEES
If you are worried that your property falls short of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, you can get help from outside agencies to comply with the legislation. This could save you money in the long run, ensuring that your building continues to bring in rental income – and of course, helping you avoid substantial financial penalties for non-compliance.
For more information please contact us.