Jeremy’s Jottings – Like London Buses

A little bit like London buses you wait for ages and then two pieces of legislation come along one after the other, both of which may have a significant impact on the direction of travel.

MEES is the acronym for the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard. Introduced under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 I’ve no doubt that we’re going to hear a lot more about these in the next few years. Why? Well, from 1st April 2018 it will not be lawful to grant or renew existing leases of substandard commercial buildings until either sufficient energy efficiency improvements have been made or landlords can show that either MEES do not apply or that they fall within an exemption. In April 2023, the requirement (subject to some exemptions) will be extended to all leased buildings. For the purposes of the Regulations “substandard” means buildings that have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G.

Is it something to be concerned about? For a number of reasons, yes, not least of which is that from the way in which the Regulations have been drafted, it would seem the intention is that landlords are expected to meet the cost of seeking to improve the energy performance of non-residential premises from their own resources. Despite coming into force in less than three years time clarification is awaited upon this and other aspects.

I think I should make it clear that MEES applies to residential property. Please be-aware the Regulations for residential property are though different to those for non-residential. If you’re a residential landlord and are not aware of MEES but believe they may apply I strongly recommend you seek professional advice.

As to the second piece of legislation which may impact on the direction of travel there is the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014. In summary these apply to all businesses and individuals that supply and charge for heating, cooling or hot water via a liquid distribution system. The deadline for compliance is 31st December 2015. If you believe the Regs may apply I believe you may find www.gov.uk/heat-networks beneficial.

As an individual I’m all for recycling, saving energy, taking only photographs and leaving only footprints etc. But, at this stage the regulations, appear to me to be bureaucracy gone mad. As an example, does the Government think that such regulations are going to change mind-sets when you still have tenants who open windows rather than turn down (or off) a central heating system. And this isn’t a rarity, 4 tenants come to mind without having to think about it!

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter. Lawson Commercial recommends you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.

JFJ