Are you ready for the minimum energy efficiency standards for rented properties?

The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are being introduced next year and if you are a buy-to-let investor, you may be required to take action.

Over the last year or so, many experts have put out tips and reminders encouraging all landlords to take measures to ensure that their properties will comply with MEES.

The changes come into force from 1st April 2018 and at that point, it will be illegal to let or lease a residential or commercial property with a poor energy rating.

Buy-to-let landlords should now be addressing these upcoming changes to ensure that, depending on the volume of potential work necessary, the deadline to meet compliance with the regulations is met.

After the April deadline, properties that do not meet the minimum standards cannot be re-let until improvements are made. If the property is re-let, potential penalty fines of £5,000 for a domestic property and £150,000 for a non-domestic property could be levied.

The MEES were introduced with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of private rented properties. All buildings, domestic and non-domestic, in England and Wales are required to achieve at least an E rating on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) under the MEES scheme. This needs to be in place before they can be leased or rented.

If any improvement works have already been completed but they took place after the original EPC was issued, the property may already be up to the new standard required.

The government will be publishing detailed guidelines in October to clarify the new rules and the obligations of agents, landlords and others. This is expected to include news on a possible cap on improvements – an initial figure of £5,000 has been discussed, but not yet confirmed.

The rule applies to new tenancies and renewals only, but will be extended to existing tenancies by 2020. The Residential Landlords Association says it has now confirmed that listed buildings will be exempt, on condition that landlords have done as much as they are permitted to, to make them energy efficient.

Paul Carr Residential Lettings are working closely with our current, and future, landlords and we are busy advising them, if necessary, on the steps to take to ensure that they are compliant.

If you are currently a landlord, or are looking to rent your property, contact our Lettings Hub and find out all about our with you every step of the way service.

Landlords – EPC minimum ratings are coming soon

If you are a landlord, you need to make sure you know all about the changes to the EPC minimum ratings coming into effect soon. Read on for more information.

Energy Performance Certificate chart
From 1st April 2018, it will be unlawful to rent a property that breaches the minimum requirement of an E rating on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), unless there is an applicable exemption.

A recent survey by E.ON found out that 49% of landlords did not feel adequately informed about how to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

This means that they may struggle to get their property compliant to the minimum EPC rating regulations and they could also be missing out on other benefits available for making a property more energy efficient.

Mike Feely from E.ON provides the following tips for landlords looking to improve their EPC ratings:

  • Don’t  underestimate the importance of insulation in making a property more energy efficient. If the property was built before or around 1920, it most likely has solid walls. Solid wall insulation can be installed from either the inside or the outside. If the property was built after 1920 it’s likely to have cavity walls. These have a double external wall with a small gap between which can be filled with insulation.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of insulation in making a property more energy efficient. If the property was built before or around 1920, it most likely has solid walls. Solid wall insulation can be installed from either the inside or the outside. If the property was built after 1920 it’s likely to have cavity walls. These have a double external wall with a small gap between which can be filled with insulation.
  • Make a play of your energy savings standards – don’t just think of improving energy efficiency as something for meeting regulations, it’s a commercial decision too. Given most tenants are responsible for paying energy bills, some may be willing to pay more for properties that are energy efficient, so make sure you’re making the most of this as a selling point.
  • Without properly insulated windows, the property could be losing up to 10% of its heat. Double glazed windows make a big difference when it comes to lowering energy bills as well as reducing condensation and noise. Instead of double glazing you could install secondary glazing which involves fitting a pane of plastic or glass inside the existing window recess to create an insulating layer of air. Though not as effective as double glazing, secondary glazing still saves a significant amount of energy and allows you to maintain good kerb appeal by keeping original features such as sash windows.
  • EPC ratings look only at permanent improvements to the fabric of the building so think about long-term upgrades that will help to reduce heat and energy use. Simple things – sausage dog draught excluders and the like – will help keep heat in, but for the EPC you need to find permanent ways to fill the gaps to stop heat escaping through windows, doors, letterboxes and even keyholes.
  • For those looking to bring their properties completely up to date, consider renewable technologies such as solar panels with an at-home battery to store electricity for use even when the sun goes down. Be aware these will
    contribute to your rating only if they’re helping to heat the house, rather than providing electricity for other uses.

If you are a landlord and would like to discuss the changes in the EPC rating regulations, please contact our Residential Lettings team.

Understanding Energy Performance Certificates

On The has published the following guide on understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and offers tips on saving money on fuel bills.

What does an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) look like?

It is a little coloured chart which shows how well the property is rated in terms of energy efficiency. The best rating is A (dark green), the worst is G (bright red).

Don’t take the word of the vendor or landlord
Always ask to see the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC.

What if the vendor or landlord says they don’t have an EPC chart?
That is not good enough! An EPC certificate is required when a house is built, being rented, or sold. It provides documentary evidence of how much it costs to heat, light and provide hot water. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the home is and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.

What’s the average energy efficiency rating for a house in England or Wales?
A score of 60, in Band D (yellow) is the average score.
Example Energy Performance CertificateEPC OnTheMarket.comSource: Savills

How eco-friendly is the property?
The fact is, the average UK household causes or creates about six tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Your EPC also has a report on the environmental impact of your property in terms of producing carbon emissions. Again, the average score is in the mid-50’s (in Environment Impact Section D).

Are there any costs not shown in the EPC?
Yes. What you are likely to spend on providing electricity for your computer and television and on providing gas or electricity for your cooker or fridge.

What if the property doesn’t have an Energy Performance Certificate?
You can arrange for an assessor to come and give your home a rating.

How else can energy bills be reduced?
Switch off electrical appliances, rather than leaving them on standby. This should cut £80 a year off your fuel bill. Fill your kettle with only as much water as you need to boil (£7 a year saved). Fit draught excluders (£25-£50 annual savings). And fit an efficient, hot-water shower-head in your bathroom. In a house with four people you could save £67 per year on fuel costs (the shower-head takes already heated water from your boiler).

What else cuts fuel bills?
Turn down your heating thermostat by just one degree and you’ll save £85-£90 per year. In a typical UK house, more than half the fuel bill per year goes on providing heating and hot water.

Can you forecast a property’s average fuel bill?
Look at the EPC. It carries a table showing estimated annual fuel costs. A home in the suburbs might cost £135 to light, £135 to provide hot water and £1,050 to heat. Multiply that over a few years’ time and you can see how heavy your fuel expenditure is likely to be. That way, you won’t get a big shock when the electricity bill arrives.

Want to find out more?
You can visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website at This is the body which oversees domestic energy efficiency. There you can find out which assessor produced the report and get more tips on how to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

Still baffled?
Either ask an expert (e.g. your local estate agent) or visit the EPC website.

And lastly do the maths!
Even if you only make small economies, you can save yourself £100-£200 per year. And buy yourself a new duvet or two when winter arrives!

No need to skip over or be mystified by those colourful energy charts in property brochures anymore.

This content is for information purposes only.