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Legal Opinion: Landlords Have to Comply With New Energy Efficiency Standards

Alastair Frew, commercial property law specialist and partner in the Real Estate team of law firm Lodders, comments

From the 1st April 2018, landlords of private rented commercial and residential premises will need to comply with EPC ‘E’ energy efficiency ratings on their properties or face civil penalty fines of up to £150,000 under new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

Designed to bring about a reduction in the UK’s greenhouse emissions, with residential and commercial property accounting for in the region of 37% of these, property landlords must ensure they comply with MEES to continue to let their properties.

The MEES regulations for the letting of a property took effect on the 1st April 2018. If a landlord should be found in breach of the MEES regulations by Trading Standards, the lease is still valid, but the landlord will become liable to a civil penalty of up to £150,000.  

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published guidance for landlords and enforcement authorities on how the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/962) will operate.

The guidance explains an important requirement of the MEES regulations and landlords must take note – from the 1st April 2018 and under MEES, it will be unlawful for a landlord to let a building that does not comply with the EPC ‘E’ rating minimum required energy efficiency standard. It will be unlawful to let a non-compliant building after the 1st April 2018, and to continue to let a non-compliant building (for tenancies that existed prior to 1st April 2018) after 1st April 2023.

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