Don’t make a mess of MEES

There’s a lot to think about in lettings right now. The ban on tenant fees looks pretty certain, with each of the three major political parties reiterating the intention in their election manifestos. There are murmurings of a change to leaseholds if the Conservatives sweep to power and in the background, landlords are getting to grips with a new way of working out mortgage interest tax relief and balancing books as a result.

Given the mini maelstrom of change, it will be easy for landlords and letting agents to over look MEES – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – which will apply to rental properties as of 1st April 2018. If you’re a letting agent or property manager trading on the fact that every property you manage is legally compliant, it’s time to get wise as there’s less than a year before greener lets become the law.

Every new let and tenancy renewal in the private rental sector from this date must be accompanied by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that shows a rating of between A and E. Properties with a rating of F or G – the least energy efficient homes – will be considered an unlawful let (unless there are special exemptions) and there will be civic penalties of up to £4,000 for breaches.

While the Green Deal has ended and some changed to the MEES implementation may follow, it is wise for landlords and letting agents to tackle the energy rating issue now. It’s a pressing matter when you consider 25% of domestic properties have an EPC rating of E, F or G, according to research by Low Carbon Energy Assessors (LCEA) Ltd.

Landlords with no idea of what energy rating their property has are urged to commission an EPC now so they know whether they need to make changes in the coming months. Although it’s clear that properties with F and G rating will need immediate attention, it’s worth noting that properties that are rated D and E may also require attention, as they may be in danger of falling into a lower classification between now and the 1st April 2018. The smartest landlords will be open to a degree of ‘future proofing’ too.

If you want to ‘add value’ to your business and come across as an indispensable lettings service, talk to your landlords today about MEES and offer to book EPCs for them.

Written by simon.duce@arpm.co.uk

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