Don’t Get in a Mess Over MEES, the New Energy Efficiency Rules

Properties that require an EPC and fail new minimum energy rating standards must not be rented to tenants after April 1 2020, unless an exemption is sought. 

Although the law has been a long time coming since coming into force in April 2018, many landlords are unaware of the new rules and how they impact their property businesses. 

To help, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards).

What does MEES mean for landlords?

From April 1, 2020, landlords cannot rent out homes that require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, including existing tenancies.

How does a property qualify for MEES?

All privately rented homes in England and Wales that must have an EPC and are let on an assured, regulated, or domestic agricultural tenancy must meet the new rules. 

Read more about landlords and MEES

What are the penalties for renting out a home that fails MEES?

  • Landlords renting out a non-compliant home for up to three months may be fined up to £5,000 or 10% of the rateable value up to a maximum of £50,000, whichever is greater.
  • Landlords renting out a non-compliant home for more than three months may be fined up to £10,000 or 20% of the rateable value up to a maximum of £150,000, whichever is greater.
  • Fines of up to £5,000 can also be handed down for providing false or misleading information or failing to comply with a compliance notice.

Can landlords avoid MEES?

Yes - landlords can legally avoid the regulations if one of nine special circumstances applies, including:

  • Installing energy efficiency measures would reduce the home’s value by 5% or more
  • Accidental landlords can earn a six-month respite from MEES if they have recently or suddenly become the owner of a rental property
  • Landlords can let homes that fail to meet the standards if a third party fails to consent to energy efficiency improvements. Third parties include freehold owners, mortgage lenders and tenants
  • The cheapest recommended improvement would exceed £3,500.

Landlords must sign up to the PRS Exemptions Register to gain an exemption. 

Find out more about the exemptions and how to join the register 

Also, see our article about the minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).

View Related Handbook Page

Energy Efficiency Improvements

A tenant is allowed to reasonably ask for a relevant energy efficiency improvement. From 1 April 2018, all rented property let on assured shorthold tenancies, regulated tenancies under the Rent Act 1977 and four types of agricultural tenancy, which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least "E".