MEES regulations are now just 15 months away, coming into effect in April 2018. From that date it will be unlawful for a landlord to let commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G, unless an exemption applies. Two years later the regulations will apply to all properties where an EPC exists.
Irrespective of what happens over the next couple of years with Brexit, the EU independent Climate Change Act of 2008 will still be committed to reducing emissions by at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The UK is currently on track to meet it’s targets having just set the 2028-32 level. Emissions continue to fall, however most of this reduction is due to declines in coal-fired power generation. As we move towards the 2050 target a greater emphasis will need to be placed on property. After all the sector accounts for 32% of the UK’s emissions!
This is where MEES comes into play and the growing need for expert advice and action based plans to improve EPC ratings. Often improvements can be built into existing cyclical or planned refurbishment works or key events during a lease such as break clauses or tenant fit out/alteration programmes. Improving EPC ratings during these phases can dramatically improve the costs associated with any changes.
Of course tenants need to be altert to the possibility that landlords may attempt to seek MEES upgrade work as part of dilapidation claims. It is likely that a tenant can object on the basis that such work is likely to constitute an “improvement”, not repair.
There are of course some straightforward steps that can be taken almost immediately to ensure the best possible EPC rating before any major works need to be carried out;
Replace existing halogen or non-Low Energy Lighting (LEL) with LEL’s, Compact Fluorescent Light’s (CFL) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – simple and inexpensive to introduce.
Ensure that your loft insulation is at least 270mm in depth
If your property has a cavity wall construction, ensure that this is filled
Even if you have an old boiler, the introduction of modern controls such as a room thermostat, individual Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) and Boiler Programmer will have a positive bearing on the EPC results
CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEM
Replacing an old, inefficient boiler will have a significant impact on any property’s EPC rating
These cover a wide range of systems and technologies ranging from Solar / Photovoltaic panels, which generate hot water and electricity through to Bio-Mass boilers and ground source heat pumps that replace conventional central heating systems but can be up to 20X more efficient
We are sure there will be a number of landlords hoping that MEES becomes lost in the general melee of Brexit negotiations and administration but they would do well to remember MEES is enshrined in UK law. Unless the government repeals the legislation – and there is no indication of this – MEES will come into effect in just over a year’s time.