Those who provide rented property in the rural sector have been reminded that time is running out to make improvements to meet the domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations.
These regulations apply to assured and regulated tenancies and domestic agricultural tenancies that are required to have an energy performance certificate (EPC).
Where that EPC rating is currently either F or G then it must be improved to E by 1 April 2020, now less than three months away, unless there is a valid, registered exemption.
Martyn Dobinson, Partner at Saffery Champness, explains: “Time is running out to make these improvements where landlords wish to continue to let these properties after 1 April 2020. However, a cost cap of £3,500 has been set for each individual property.
“Where all improvements that can be made within this cost cap have been made, and the performance is still below E, or where none can be made within this limit, an 'all improvements made' or 'high cost' exemption can be sought.
“There are sources available for third party funding such as green deal finance and local authority grants and these may be used towards the £3,500 cap per property,” she said.
“Other exemptions are also available – for example where installation of energy efficient improvements would reduce a property’s market value by more than 5 per cent, or where consent from a third party to make the improvements cannot be obtained, despite reasonable efforts.”
Non-compliance occurs where, from 1 April 2020, a property is let, or continues to be let, in breach of the regulations.
Domestic property penalties are as follows (up to a cap of £5,000 per property per breach):
• up to £2,000 for letting a non-compliant property for less than 3 months
• up to £4,000 for letting a non-compliant property for 3 months or more
• up to £1,000 for providing false or misleading information to the Exemptions Register
• up to a further £2,000 for failure to comply with a compliance notice.
Instead of a financial penalty, or as well as a financial penalty, details of the breach may be published.