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Now is the time to get your rental property into energy-efficient shape

21st December 2017

The requirement to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when you sell or let a property is not new but on 1 April 2018 the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force.

The MEES regulations stipulate that, from April onwards, landlords must not grant a new tenancy on any property with a low EPC rating (less than E), nor extend or renew an existing tenancy on such a property. Neither must a landlord continue to let a domestic property with such a low EPC rating after April 2020, or let a non-domestic property after April 2023.

All privately-rented property must comply with the new MEES rules. For the purposes of these regulations, ‘privately-rented property’ means properties let under an assured or shorthold tenancy, tenancies regulated by law, and properties let under assured agricultural occupancy or under a protected or statutory tenancy as defined by the Rent Act 1976.

Local authorities will enforce the new rules rigorously so, if you are the owner of a privately-rented property, you should prepare well in advance to avoid a penalty of up to £5,000.

There are a few exemptions to the rules, but it is worth noting that if your property does qualify for exemption you must formally register it in the Exemptions Register. Your property may be exempt if, despite undergoing all the appropriate energy efficiency improvements, its EPC remains below E or if no such energy efficiency improvements can be made. Improvements that are considered relevant include recommendations made by a Green Deal report, a recommendation report, or a report prepared by a surveyor – in many cases such improvements can be financed by the government or local authority, at no cost to the property owner.

Exemptions may also be made if the improvement work requires your tenant’s consent but this is withheld, if you have only recently become the landlord, if third party consent such as planning permission is refused, if the measures deemed necessary to improve your property will result in its devaluation by more than 5 per cent, or if you have obtained confirmation from a qualified person or installer that wall insulation for example will have a negative impact on the structure of your property – and most exemptions are valid for five years.

If you are unsure how the new rules may affect you, or for legal advice on a business or commercial property matter, call the George Ide team in Chichester on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Robert Enticott. Partner, commercial property department

Business, Commercial Property, General, George Ide, News, Residential Property Conveyancing
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