MEES – THE NON-DOMESTIC PRIVATE RENTED PROPERTY MINIMUM STANDARD
We provide consultancy, registration and certification services on all aspects of MEES legislation. In addition to a standard Commercial EPC, the service will be tailored to individual circumstances but will likely comprise a combination of some or all of the following:
Draft Commercial EPC (lodged in the case of a pass (post improvements) or if required for an immediate lease requirement)
Tailored recommendations report to assist the landlord in meeting requirements within their available budget
Re-survey upon completion of energy efficiency improvements
Registration of exemptions on the national register
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) apply to all non-domestic properties (i.e. properties that are not a dwelling) in England and Wales which are let under any type of tenancy which are required to have a Commercial EPC (subject to several exemptions). This includes individual properties, such as retail units situated within larger buildings, which are required to have their own individual EPC. Landlords of non-domestic property which is not legally required to have an EPC are not bound by the prohibition on letting Sub-Standard Property
Where a landlord wishes to continue letting property which is currently sub-standard (i.e. F or G), they will first need to ensure that energy efficiency improvements are made which raise the rating to a minimum of an E rating. In certain, limited, circumstances landlords may be able to claim an exemption from this prohibition on letting sub-standard property, this includes situations where all improvements which can be made have been made, and the property remains below an E. Where a valid exemption applies, landlords must register the exemption on the database set up for this purpose – the PRS Exemptions Register.
Multiple units within the same building
The MEES regulation is linked to the “property” which is defined as a “building or part of a building”. In cases where the property being let is a discrete space within a building, rather than the entire building, and where there is an EPC for the entire building, but also one for the discrete space being let, then the relevant EPC will be the one for the discrete space. Where there is only an EPC for the entire building (and where an EPC for the discrete space is not legally required) then that building EPC will be the relevant EPC.
Listed properties, and buildings within a conservation area, will not necessarily be exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC if compliance would not unacceptably alter its character or appearance. Examples of energy performance measures which may alter the character or appearance (or as a minimum are likely to require local authority planning permission to install on a listed building) include external solid wall insulation, replacement glazing, solar panels, or an external wall mounted air source heat pump. Where character or appearance would not be altered by compliance with energy performance requirements, an EPC may be legally required and that property will be within scope of the minimum energy efficiency standards.
a) from 1 April 2018, landlords of non-domestic private rented properties (including public sector landlords) may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G (shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property).
b) from 1 April 2023, landlords must not continue letting (including to existing tenants) a non-domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G.
MEES applies to any person who lets, or proposes to let, a non-domestic PR property. If the original lease allows a tenant to sublet the property, and that tenant proposes to enter into a sublease as a new landlord to a sub-tenant, then that original tenant/new landlord should not let the property until the minimum standard is reached. In situations which do not result in the tenant becoming a new landlord for the purposes of the Regulations, any requirement to meet the minimum standard will remain with the original landlord.
Local Weights and Measures Authorities will enforce the minimum standards. They may check whether a property meets the minimum level of energy efficiency, and may issue a compliance notice requesting information where it appears to them that a property has been let in breach of the Regulations (or an invalid exemption has been registered in respect of it). Where an enforcement authority is satisfied that a property has been let in breach of the Regulations it may serve a penalty notice on the landlord imposing financial penalties. The authority may also publish details of the breach.
Non-domestic properties that do not require a Commercial EPC (https://www.gov.uk/energy-performance-certificate-commercial-property/exemptions)
Non-domestic properties that are not occupied under a tenancy (e.g. properties let on licence, or ‘agreement for lease’)
Leases granted for a term of 99 years or more
Leases granted for a term certain no exceeding 6 months (unless the tenancy agreement contains provisions for renewing or extending it beyond 6 months, or at the time granted the tenant has been in occupation for a continuous period of more than 12 months)
For voluntary Commercial EPCs (i.e. when not legally required)
Evidence that the Landlord has carried out all cost-effective recommendations made by the assessor under the Green Deal Scheme (5-year exemption)
Evidence that the recommended improvements will devalue the property by more than 5%
Evidence that the recommended improvements fail to raise the EPC rating above an ‘F’
Evidence that the Landlord is unable to make the improvements because they are denied access by the tenant, lender or planning authority will grant a 5-year exemption (unless the tenant denying the improvements vacates the property)