Update - MEES, please... are you ready?

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05 June, 2019

Following on from our previous blog 'MEES, please….are you ready?' published on 16 February 2018, the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (the "MEES Regulations"), have now been amended as of 1 April 2019 by the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (the "Amendment Regulations") following on from the government's response to its consultation.

The changes in the main relate to domestic private rented properties only and are as follows:

The "no cost to the landlord" principle has been removed and replaced with a landlord contribution cap of £3,500 (including VAT), in which the landlord is able to include in this cap any energy efficiency investments made to the property since October 2017;

Established a new 'high cost' exemption to be available where a sub-standard domestic private rented properties cannot be improved to an energy performance certificate of E for £3,500 or less. To qualify for this 'high cost' exemption the landlord must submit three quotes in relation to the energy efficiency works to establish the 'high cost';

The "no cost to the landlord" exemptions is now to be limited by providing that such exemptions will now expire on 1 April 2020, rather than running for the 5 year period from the registration date;

The consent exemption in relation to a tenant of a domestic private rented property withholding consent to a Green Deal Finance plan has now been removed;

When a landlord has registered an exemption in relation to the tenant not consenting to any energy efficiency improvements, the landlord will be unable to rely on this exemption "once that tenant's tenancy has come to an end". The wording is ambiguous and the Amendment Regulations does not provide further details as to how this will relate in regards to renewals or assignments. This amendment relates to both domestic and non-domestic private rented properties.

As mentioned in our previous blog, for the purposes of the MEES Regulations if the landlord is a body registered as a social landlord the property is deemed not to be a domestic private rented property. This includes registered providers ("RPs"). This means that social landlords are do not have to comply with these regulations in relation to domestic privately rented properties only. However if a tenancy is granted through a subsidiary or group company and not the RP and/or the tenancy is granted at open market rent then the regulations will have to be complied with.

It is important for landlords and RPs to note these changes as the penalties include fines of up to £150,000 for non-domestic and £5,000 for domestic private rented properties, as well as publications of non-compliance for providing false information or failing to comply with a compliance notice.

For more information contact Lyndsay Baxter in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01772 224384. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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