Are you ready for MEES time?
If you’re a landlord and have just reacted to the above title by thinking “I haven’t a clue what that means” then you may have some trouble brewing.
You most certainly should read on!
Understanding “MEES” in context
The acronym “MEES” stands for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. It’s a concept that might have a very big impact on your business from April 2018.
To understand why, it’s necessary to think a little bit about global energy science for a moment or two.
The basic problem is that, as a civilization, our energy consumption is increasing at a much faster rate than our energy production capabilities. Today that’s not yet a problem but it might well be in say 30 years’ time should current trends continue and we fail to take some action.
It’s easy to say we should just produce more energy but there are two problems:
- our modern-day environmental concerns don’t permit us to massively expand things like oil, coal and gas energy production, even if the reserves existed;
- the new energy sources such as wind, tidal, solar and clean nuclear fusion just aren’t feasible yet in terms of their overall contribution capabilities.
Some cynics are saying, with some support from the evidence from history, that we’re thirty years away from clean unlimited energy – and we always have been and always will be!
So, if we seemingly can’t produce lots more energy, we have to start reducing our consumption of it. This is where MEES comes in.
In its basic form, MEES is very simple:
- from 1st April 2018, it will be illegal to let a property unless it meets the minimum energy efficiency standards as laid down by legislation;
- that will be based upon the energy performance certificate (EPC) which consists of a single letter rating;
- if your property is graded in the “F” or “G” bands, you won’t be able to let it after 1st April 2018 unless you obtain a special exemption from the authorities. It might be unwise to assume these will be handed out liberally and they are perhaps most likely to be reserved for special cases such as listed properties or those that are of special architectural interest and where significant efficiency improvements would spoil the building’s appearance.
As you can see, this subject has moved very quickly from the domain of science and perhaps politics, immediately into the daily business of a landlord’s operations. Note that any let property insurance you have, typically might demand that you’re in full MEES compliance too.
That’s because let property insurance typically requires policyholders to comply with prevailing legislation.
What you should do
If all of the above is news to you, then your first course of action should be to research and be sure you understand MEES - immediately. There is plenty of information available online.
The second thing is that you need to review your existing EPC or arrange for a survey if you don’t have one. That will give you your energy performance rating band.
If you’re in one of what will become the two proscribed bands in April 2018, you need to do something about it. That typically will involve things like the use of insulation and installation of double glazing etc.
You may still be able to get some financial assistance through local authority schemes or things such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.
Whatever you do though, above all, do not decide to simply ignore MEES!