Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are a set of rules for landlords in England or Wales to follow to ensure a minimum standard of energy efficiency in rented homes.
From April 2020, most rented homes must have an Energy Performance Certificate with a rating of A to E unless the property is exempt.
It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC when marketing a property for letting, except where individual tenants of a shared house have separate tenancy agreements. The EPC is valid for ten years. During that period, it does not have to be renewed for each new tenancy, although it is good practice to renew the EPC if energy efficiency improvements have been carried out.
Social housing and some listed buildings are not covered by MEES.
An EPC rates the energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property. It is rated on a scale of A to G, where A is the most efficient and G is the least efficient).
The certificate shows:
- the property's current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting
- a list of recommended energy saving improvements
Properties with an EPC rating of F or G are described in the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) England and Wales Regulations 2015 as 'sub-standard' and the landlord must take steps to improve the energy efficiency to at least an E rating unless eligible to register an exemption.
If you are unsure whether your property has a valid EPC, you can check using the postcode search facility to help you find an energy certificate on the GOV.UK website.
If you want to let a property but do not have a valid EPC, you can get one from an accredited domestic energy assessor. You can find local EPC assessors using the postcode search facility on the National Register on GOV.UK.
When the assessor visits your property, it is important to show them documentary evidence of energy efficiency improvements, the assessor is unable to make assumptions about things they cannot confirm. For example, building control completion certificates, or date stamped photos showing wall or floor insulation before it was covered up.
From 1 April 2020, all private rented properties must have an EPC rating of A to E. Properties with an EPC rating of F or G cannot be rented out unless they are covered by an exemption. This avoids landlords letting the least energy efficient properties to tenants who may struggle to keep the property warm. It also helps to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging landlords to make energy efficiency improvements.
You can find more in-depth guidance on the minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) on GOV.UK.
If your private rented home has an EPC rating of F or G, speak to your landlord about making improvements to bring the rating to at least an E.
Following a rapid rise in fuel prices, it's vital that tenants know the energy efficiency of a property before they sign a tenancy agreement.
Choosing a more efficient property will provide a warmer, more desirable home with lower running costs.
The EPC will give specific advice on what steps can be taken at the property in question. Some common energy efficiency measures that are taken include:
- Making sure that loft insulation meets the current standard of 270mm, remembering that ventilation is vital
- Insulating cavity walls
- Installing double glazing
- Lagging hot water tanks
- Using energy efficient light bulbs
Find more information on energy saving measures, planning permission and listed buildings on our dedicated Energy at Home website.
Landlords of domestic properties that do not meet the minimum rating must make ‘all relevant energy efficiency improvements’ so that the property qualifies for at least an EPC rating of E.
However, if those improvements would cost more than £3,500, landlords should make all improvements they can up to that figure. If improvements beyond the £3,500 cap are still necessary, the landlord could be eligible to register an exemption.
In 2020 the the government consulted on plans to change the minimum EPC rating to C for all private rented homes. They have suggested a phased implementation plan that would apply to new tenancies from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028. They are also suggesting an increase to the high cost exemption from £3,500 to £10,000.
These decisions have not yet been formalised, it is not yet law, but when acquiring new properties to rent or refurbish, we are encouraging landlords to improve the energy efficiency now. Buy to Let mortgage lenders now offer preferential mortgage deals on properties with an EPC rating of A to C.
Grant and loan funding opportunities may be available to make energy efficiency improvements to private rented homes. Funding opportunities are subject to change. For the latest information please visit the Energy At Home website.
There are a limited number of statutory exemptions for private rented properties with an EPC rating of F or G. You can read guidance on the exemptions on GOV.UK.
Exemptions may be available in the following circumstances:
- If the landlord has spent £3,500 on energy efficiency improvements and cannot bring the property to the minimum standard
- If the landlord has not been able to secure the necessary consents, despite having made reasonable efforts. Improvements that do not need consent, must still be carried out
- If a chartered surveyor has given a report stating that specified energy efficiency improvements would devalue the property. Other non-specified improvements must still be completed where possible
The landlord (or their agent) must apply to register an exemption on the National PRS Exemptions Register.
To do this, you will need to
- tell them the reason for the exemption
- provide written evidence of why the exemption applies
Registering false or misleading information is an offence that can result in a financial penalty.
If a landlord rents out a property with an EPC rating of F or G without a statutory exemption, they are likely to face enforcement action. We are actively seeking out private rented homes that breach regulations, so don't wait until it is too late.
We can issue the landlord with a civil penalty of up to £5,000 but the government have consulted on plans to raise the penalty to £30,000 in the future.
To request a copy of our minimum energy efficiency standard enforcement policy, please email Trading Standards at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01225 396759.
We will impose financial penalties for non-compliance in accordance with the following conditions, which may be in addition to a publication penalty:
|Rating on Energy Performance Certificate||Penalty where the landlord has been in breach for
less than 3 months
|Penalty where the landlord has been in breach for
more than 3 months
|Providing false or misleading information on PRS Exemptions Register||Failing to comply with the Compliance Notice|
More than one penalty may be imposed, up to a maximum penalty of £5,000.
Pay your MEES penalty charge
If you have received a penalty charge from us you can pay this online.Pay your MEES penalty
To find out more about the MEES Regulations, view the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015, as amended in 2016 and 2019.
You can also view full government guidance on GOV.UK
The Energy Saving Trust website contains a wealth of information about making your property more energy efficient.
Trustmark, a Government Endorsed Quality Scheme, have produced a free guide to retrofitting your home. They also have a search tool to find a specialist retrofit coordinator in your area. Help is also available through Futureproof, a Bristol based organisation which is part of the Centre for Sustainable Energy.
Further information about minimum energy efficiency standards can be found by contacting a landlord association or speaking to your letting or managing agent.