Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
There was an appeal from various sections of the commercial property market to provide cash assistance to private landlords to enable them to comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.
What Are The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations?
The UK government introduced MEES in 2018. The regulations set a minimum energy efficiency standard for privately rented non-domestic and domestic properties in England and Wales. They require commercial landlords to ensure that their properties meet a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) E rating or have a valid exemption.
When Did The MEES Regulations Take Effect?
From 1 April 2018, landlords were banned from granting a new tenancy for a commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G unless all relevant energy efficiency improvements were made. They had to prove that the property was exempt from the regulations if they could not do the upgrades.
MEES Regulations 2023
From 1 April 2023, these requirements were extended to cover all existing non-domestic lets. Commercial landlords are now prohibited from continuing to let a property that has an EPC rating of F or G unless they have made all relevant energy efficiency improvements, or the property is exempt. The MEES regulations are aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the UK's buildings, reducing carbon emissions, and helping tackle climate change.
MEES Regulations In Wales
The Welsh Government has given its approval, either in full or in principle, to all the 29 recommendations of the Welsh Parliaments Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee report on the decarbonisation of the private rented sector. The recommendations include the call for providing more detail about how regulatory standards will guide retrofit activity across the private rented sector in Welsh.
In its response, Welsh Government also shares concerns about the old and rapidly ageing privately rented housing stocks in Wales (for whom the EPC requirement is now a C rating). Such houses may need more investment to fulfil the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. Landlords with ageing properties may face difficulty complying with the energy efficiency targets and may be forced to take drastic action.
Some may resort to using cheaper and substandard retrofits, which may give the impression of having satisfied the efficiency targets but may not deliver the anticipated results in the long term. Others may ask tenants to bear or share the costs. In worst-case scenarios, landlords may sell their rental properties. The Welsh Government states that the UK Government's introduction of revised Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards may force them to offer some form of financial assistance for Welsh landlords, especially those who own ageing properties.
Grants And Funding Opportunities To Assist with MEES Regulation
The UK government provides several grants and loans to landlords to help them comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations.
According to the Welsh Government, If the UK Government introduces a requirement to meet EPC C and does not provide financial support, there could be a need to look at funding grants and loans to support improvements.
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