As of 1 April 2023, the prohibition on letting a commercial property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below “E” under the Non-Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will apply to continuing or existing leases as well as new leases. This means that all commercial properties being let after that date must have a minimum EPC rating of “E” unless a valid exemption has been registered.
This change will require landlords to ensure that their properties meet the minimum energy efficiency standards, regardless of whether they are new or existing leases. Landlords who are unable to achieve an “E” rating on the EPC may still be able to let their property if they can demonstrate that all cost-effective energy efficiency improvements have been made, and the property has been registered as exempt on the national PRS Exemptions Register.
This change to the MEES regulations is an important step towards improving the energy efficiency of commercial properties in the UK and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Landlords, tenants, and property managers should take note of this change and plan accordingly to ensure that they are in compliance with the regulations.
The proposed timeline for these standards to be raised to an EPC rating of C or higher by 2027 and a B or higher by 2030 is a clear indication of this.
This information is significant for owners and tenants of commercial properties as it suggests that they should plan and budget for energy efficiency improvements in order to meet increasingly stringent standards. Landlords may need to make upgrades to heating, lighting, and insulation systems, among other improvements, in order to achieve the required EPC rating. Tenants may also want to consider the energy efficiency of properties they are considering leasing and negotiate lease terms that allow for energy efficiency upgrades to be made.
It’s worth noting that the proposed changes to the energy efficiency standards are still subject to consultation and parliamentary approval, and the exact timeline for their implementation may change. However, the general trend towards increasingly stringent energy efficiency standards is expected to continue.