It is now just two months until new rules concerning Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force in April. From April, all PRS homes rented out as either new lets or renewals must have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This will be extended to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

The exemption register is currently open and revised software to be used by assessors to calculate EPCs is now being issued, following a campaign by the RLA over ratings for solid wall homes. However, information surrounding the new rules can be conflicting and confusing.

Dave Princep, the RLA’s health and safety consultant, shares his advice to landlords when it comes to facing the changes up ahead. He says applying for an exemption could be a short-term solution to a long term problem and could end up costing you money.

If you have a low EPC, applying for an exemption should really be your last resort. Any exemption registered on the database triggers an automatic email to the relevant local authority, informing them that the premises are F or G band. The local authority could then take action under the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) to force the landlord to carry out improvement works to remedy a cold hazard, with HHSRS unaffected by the exemption register.

In short, you may have to do the works anyway.

Although HHSRS does not mention any specific EPC ratings as being equivalent to a Category 1 Hazard, the lower the EPC the greater the probability that action would be warranted.

All indications are that the Government will shortly be looking at increasing the energy efficiency standards in the domestic PRS – probably incrementally increasing the minimum EPC band at which premises may be let over the coming years.

Against this background it is recommended that landlords whose premises are below a band C consider carrying out all cost-effective energy improvements whenever undertaking major refurbishment or significant works at their properties.

Those with band E premises should look carefully at their premises and carry out any less disruptive and cost-effective works as soon as they can and consider scheduling in other energy refurbishments over the medium term.

Landlords with an F band whose rental properties are of solid wall construction should consider undertaking a new EPC assessment – with the software upgraded in November last year.

According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), around 100,000 PRS homes will be upgraded into Band E and therefore unaffected by the current restrictions. Quite simply members with F & G ratings must take urgent action.

About TDS:

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

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