UK: Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – Watts All The Fuss About?

Last Updated: 10 January 2016
Article by Emma Horn

Under the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards ('MEES'), landlords cannot grant a lease of a property with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of F or G unless all cost-effective works to improve energy efficiency have been carried out or an exemption applies. MEES applies to both residential and commercial properties although has small but significant differences in its application and so this briefing note focuses solely on commercial properties.

From 1 April 2018, MEES applies to all new lettings, and the renewal or extension of existing tenancies. From 1 April 2023 it will apply to all lettings, including existing tenancies.

Who will be affected by the regulations?

Owners of properties which are not required to obtain an EPC ('exempt properties') are not affected. Exempt properties include temporary buildings with a time use of two years or less, small standalone buildings, residential buildings that are used for less than four months a year and with low energy use and some listed buildings.

Landlords of 'non-exempt' properties are required by law to apply for an EPC when the property is sold or rented. Obtaining an EPC will then bring them within the scope of MEES unless the tenancy is less than six months or more than 99 years. Indeed, even when an EPC has been applied for by the landlord voluntarily (i.e. the circumstances triggering compulsory certification have not arisen) or by a tenant (against the wishes of their landlord) this will still trigger the MEES obligations for the property in question.
MEES does not impose obligations on owner occupiers or tenants, although they will become relevant for tenants directly because they wish to sub-let or indirectly because the landlord is seeking to recover at least part of the cost of carrying out the works from the tenant via the service charge.

What are cost effective works?

MEES requires the Landlord to undertake any works that are 'relevant energy efficiency improvements'. These are works listed in Part L of the Building Regulations 2013 which pass the 'seven year payback test' i.e. if the works were carried out, the projected energy cost savings will be less than the cost of works spread over a seven year period.

Does an exemption apply?

An exemption will apply if:

  • All cost effective energy saving works have been carried out and the EPC rating is still below E.
  • If the landlord can prove they are unable to obtain the necessary consents to carry out the works (e.g. consent of an existing tenant or a mortgagee) or the consent is subject to conditions with which the landlord could not reasonably comply.
  • If the works would devalue the property by more than 5%.
  • If the works are insulation works which would damage heritage property if carried out.

However, it is important to note that obtaining an exemption is by no means a 'get out of jail free' card. Landlords will need to apply, with sufficient supporting documentation to obtain an exemption and re-apply every five years when the exemption expires. It is likely that exempt properties will be placed on a searchable register available to the public showing that the property is 'substandard'. Consideration should be given as to whether this label may have a negative impact on the rental or capital value of the property.

It should also be noted that exemptions do not automatically pass to new owners on sale of a property or lease. New owners will need to apply themselves, which may cause a delay to the transaction.

Penalties and enforcement

The regulations are going to be enforced by local Trading Standards Officers. Taking on board the rather woeful track record of enforcing the EPC regulations, it is anticipated that enforcement of MEES will be much more rigorous. The burden is on landlords to prove, if challenged, that they have complied with the regulations and if they are unable to do so, they will be given a short time in which to comply or face the penalty. The penalties are based on the rateable value of the property and are subject to a maximum cap of £150,000.

Is minimum compliance enough?

From a commercial point of view it may initially appear sensible for landlords to simply carry out the minimum works, if required, but this will not always be the case. Landlords should consider the fact that the methodology of EPC rating has changed considerably over the past few years and so it is expected that existing ratings may fall when they are next certificated (which needs to happen every 10 years). So it may be that an E rating falls to an F or G. It is also expected that the Government will raise the minimum standard from 'E' to 'D' at some point in the future and so owners of E rated properties cannot be complacent.

It is also the case that sometimes the energy savings afforded by such works can be disproportionately higher than the cost of carrying out the works themselves so it may make good financial sense take the financial plunge and consider investing in energy efficiency measures rather than simply doing the minimum.

Issues to consider

The implementation of MEES will throw up a number of landlord and tenant issues which will need consideration such as:

  • Should landlords be able to prevent tenants carrying out any alterations that might affect the EPC rating of the property
  • Should there be a landlord's right of access to the premises to allow them to carry out the energy efficiency improvements?
  • How much of the cost of the works can the landlord recover through the service charge?
  • Should MEES have an impact on rent review?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.