Sefton Council have been successful in securing Government funding of over £41,3000 to help ensure landlords are meeting national Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) at properties they let. The funding was secured by participating in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Compliance and Enforcement Competition. The competition supports local authorities to raise awareness of the PRS Regulations to both landlords and tenants as well as building capacity to tackle the identification of non-compliant landlords. The funding can also be used to support local authorities to create processes to enforce the PRS Regulations - Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015 - Civil Penalty Policy.
In this section
- What are the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)?
- Landlord responsibilities
- Houses in Multiple Occupation
- Listed buildings and Conservation
- What help is available?
- Report a property that is not energy efficient
What are the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)?
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations were introduced by the government in 2018. The regulations seek to:
- Improve the quality of privately rented homes,
- Increase the energy efficiency of the worst performing houses,
- Improve the comfort and conditions in privately rented homes and reduce fuel poverty.
The regulations require all privately rented properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E before the tenancy is renewed or the house is rented out to a new tenant. Properties with an EPC rating of F or G cannot be rented out unless they are covered by statutory exemption.
Landlords must ensure there is a valid EPC for their property, with a minimum energy efficiency rating of E, unless there is a valid exemption.
If the energy rating is F or G, landlords must make improvements to the property to bring it into compliance. The cost of energy efficiency improvements for F or G rated properties is currently capped at £3500 including VAT. Landlords who are implementing relevant energy efficiency improvements are also free to, target above and beyond the current cap and minimum requirements of an E rating if they wish.
Recommendations for energy efficiency improvements can be found on the EPC for the property and might include:
- Upgrade and install loft insulation
- Install cavity wall insulation
- Boiler upgrades
- Installation of energy efficient light bulbs
Properties that are legally required to have an EPC, that cannot be improved to meet the minimum E Rating, may be exempt from MEES regulations.
There are 6 exemptions which can be registered:
- high cost exemptions
- all improvements made exemptions
- wall insulation exemptions
- consent exemptions
- devaluation exemptions
- new landlord exemptions
All exemptions must be registered on the national PRS exemptions register. Guidance can be found on exemptions and Exemptions Register evidence requirements. This shows you how to register your exemption.
Sefton Council are responsible for enforcing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations and investigating any potential breaches of the MEES regulations.
If a private sector landlord continues to rent a property with an EPC rating of F or G, a Compliance Notice and a Penalty Notice can be issued to the landlord, with a maximum penalty of £5000.
Alongside the MEES Regulations, the Housing Act 2004 gives Local Authorities the power to enforce minimum Housing Standards in the private rented sector using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
The EPC rating of a property cannot be considered in isolation. Even if a property meets an EPC rating of E, landlords will need to provide adequate heating and thermal comfort. Local Authorities can prosecute or issue penalties of up to £30,000 when hazards including excess cold are identified in a property and not rectified.
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
HMOs are not excluded from the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). MEES applies to all domestic and non-domestic properties, where:
- there is a legal requirement to have an EPC,
- the property is let (including the letting of individual rooms) on a relevant tenancy type,
- Individual rooms within an HMO let out in the past 10 years.
Listed Buildings and Conservation
Historic or Listed Buildings within a conservation area are exempt if:
"Compliance with the minimum energy requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance".
This is not a blanket exemption. If a building is protected it may still be possible to make improvements. This is only possible where the character or appearance is not altered.
Unacceptable alterations in most protected buildings would be:
- Double Glazing
- New doors and windows
- External wall insulation
- External boiler flues
What help is available?
In some circumstances funding may be available to cover the cost or provide a contribution to the improvement works.
Poorly insulated households with an income below £30,000 in Sefton can avail of funding to make their homes more energy efficient. Landlords will need to contribute at least a third of the total costs of works, with the maximum grant for landlords being £5,000. If eligible, an assessment will determine the measures that are suitable, and the grant could pay for items like:
- Loft insulation
- Under-floor insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
- Solar power
Please read Green Homes Grant Local Delivery Scheme for more information.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme:
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a requirement for energy supply companies to assist low income and/or vulnerable households to save energy. Eligibility for ECO is usually based around receipt of benefits; however, Sefton Council can declare that a household is eligible to receive support due to having a low income, being vulnerable or fuel poor. Examples of private rented property measures (subject to survey) include:
- External Wall Insulation
- First time central heating
- Draught proofing
- Window glazing
Please read Energy Company Obligation Flexible Eligibility for more information on how to apply.
Simple Energy Advice and Energy Saving Trust also provide helpful guidance and advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of properties.
Report a property that is not energy efficient.
If you believe a property is being let to tenants with an EPC rating of F or G or without an EPC, please let us know by emailing us at: email@example.com