Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for Rental Properties

Domestic MEES checklist

The following checklist are the key points from the Guidance documents issued, this is a general guide and should cover most properties.

• Is the EPC E or above – only EPC ratings F & G are affected

• Is the EPC up-to-date and includes any improvements made since the current report completed – if not have a new EPC completed

• Take a look at recommendations on EPC and seek advice from a DEA

• Improvements to the property should be made at little or no cost to the landlord although they prefer to make simple low cost improvements themselves – again take advice from DEA as to what can give the best EPC improvement for lowest cost.

• Is the property Listed or in a Conservation Area – If it is and the only improvements that can be made will effect the appearance of the building then exemption can be registered on this basis – it will be best to contact local authority to discuss.

• If all relevant improvements have been made and the property is still below an E then this qualifies for an exemption

• If there is a recommendation for wall insulation but this would have a negative impact on the building then a report from a qualified surveyor would be required for exemption

• If a report from A RICS surveyor provides evidence that the installation of relevant measures would de-value the property by more than 5% then his report will provide exemption.

• Do you have the consent for improvements from the Tenant, Superior Landlord or Local Authority – If no consent given then this will allow an exemption.

• For recommendations such as boilers, loft insulation or cavity wall insulation – try the Energy Companies to see if they have funding available. Make sure you have an updated EPC carried out on completion of work

• Contact local authority to see if they have any funding for improvements. Make sure you have an updated EPC carried out on completion of work

• Have a Green Deal Advice Report completed and submit to a Green Deal Provider

• If there is no cost effective package of improvements then you can use the report for exemption.

• If there is a cost effective package available under Green Deal you can arrange finance through the provider – loan will be repaid through energy meter.

• If you are a new landlord you will be given a 6 months grace period

For all properties, evidence and proof for exemption purposes will be required and exemptions last for a 5 year period, after which you will be required to re-submit for exemption and demonstrate that it has still not been possible to improve property.

Failure to register exemption, or providing false information will result in fines of up to £5000 per property and being ‘named and shamed’ on the exemption register.

MEES come into effect 1st April 2018

Green Deal Returns and better than before

The Green Deal is returning and this time it is going to work, lessons have been learnt and the process has been improved.

“Remind me what Green Deal is?” you ask. It originally was a Government funded scheme which allowed you to make energy saving improvements to your home at no up-front costs, the ‘loan’ was repaid through the electricity meter from the savings you made by making your home more energy efficient.

When it was originally launched there were a few technical hitches, there weren’t enough approved installers, finance packages were limited to only certain improvements but not others and it just didn’t quite get it right. Eventually the scheme was shelved by the Government.

Now the finance company is in the hands of more savvy companies who better appreciate what the scheme was all about and could see what potential it has, and they have the ability and foresight to make the scheme work properly.

So nuts and bolts of what the scheme is about. You have the opportunity to make improvements to your property which will improve its energy efficiency. We are not talking its desirability like a new kitchen, we are talking about upgrading glazing, insulation, renewable energy, the things that will make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy costs.

These improvements could mean you are digging into your savings or taking out loans but what if there was a loan mechanism out there where you really wouldn’t notice the repayments – they were just repaid each month to your energy supplier – that has to be an option worth considering.

And this what Green Deal can do for you.

It maybe an advantage if you are doing renovations, dealing with your rental property portfolio or just wanting to keep your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

Want to know more about the improvements covered by the scheme and what is involved then call us to discuss further without obligation, we act independently to produce the Green Deal Advice Reports required to apply and are happy to provide impartial information.

Torbay Property Blog

This is the full version of the item posted recently on Torbay Property Blog



If you are selling or letting a property, it requires by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Most of the time having me carry out a survey is just part of the process you go through, I come round, I draw a plan, I take pictures of your lightbulbs and I stick my head in your loft space. It’s a tick off your ‘to do’ list!
You also probably only see the coloured grid that looks like the stickers on a new freezer but the report is actually about 4-5 pages long and includes details of construction, any insulation and heating system, along with estimated running costs, and any recommended improvements

It is also a public document which can be seen by potential buyers and tenants online.
The EPC is actually valid for 10 years so you may think of it as a ‘done and forget’ piece of paper but does it still represent your property? If you have made improvements to the heating system, added insulation or made any changes to the structure of the property then does it still represent your property? If you had gone to the necessary expense of installing a new boiler would you want the EPC to still have a recommendation to ‘install a new boiler’?

Likewise when you are looking at a property to buy, if you looked thoroughly at the EPC and looked at the recommendations and saw a list – loft insulation, replace boiler, draughtproofing, heating controls….. Would that not make you look a little closer, or does it even give you a little bargaining power.
Whatever you may think. energy costs can only go one way and that it up, and the running costs of our homes impacts greatly on our comfort and lifestyle.
Admittedly we are all generally swayed by a nice kitchen, spacious bathroom or easily maintained garden, don’t overlook the EPC


Changes in the law mean that Private Rental Sector Landlords will not be able to rent their properties without a Band E or above on the EPC

As of the 1st April 2018 a landlord cannot let or renew the tenancy of a property which has an EPC band of F or G. This is a very sweeping statement which, if you are a landlord, should be making you take a closer look at your property portfolio.

This new legislation is being brought in to further improve the level of the UK Private rented housing stock, which despite the various grant schemes that have been available over the years is still lacking in condition and standard.
Although most landlords are conscientious and will do whatever is feasibly possible to improve their properties, there will be some out there that are more challenging than others.

Please see my other article ‘Things landlords need to do to comply with new EPC legislation
In a recent Radio 4 item on this subject it discussed how the ‘Green Deal’ was always aimed at allowing landlords to make improvements at no upfront cost, but sadly the Green Deal in its original form no longer exists. There are private finance companies who will set up Green Deal plans and the rumour has it that Green Deal will return in some form next year – watch this space.

What happens if as a landlord you own a property that is on the Listed Buildings register. Listed Buildings do not necessarily need to have an EPC but many have, and those that do usually have very low ratings because of the nature of the building. These properties will be exempt from the new legislation because of the difficulties in improving them.

If as a landlord you have a more challenging property where you are limited to what you can do because say the property is in a conversation area or the only improvements you can carry out are not cost effect then it maybe possible to get an exemption certificate. I only heard about this part this week so the full details are a still a little sketchy – more as I find them.

Either way it is intended that there will be a register of Private Rental Properties/Landlords and any that fail to comply with the new rulings will be fined (anything from £1000 - £4000) and ‘named and shamed’ on this register which is likely to be public and I don’t believe any decent landlord  would want that.

Things landlords need to do to comply with new EPC legislation

The new legislation which comes into force on 1st April 2018 states that to let or renew the tenancy of a property in the Private Rental Sector it must have an EPC rating of E or above.

With this in mind, any landlord should look at his property portfolio and check the ratings, are any of them rated F or G?

Why is this legislation being brought in? Basically it is to try improve the standard of the housing stock within the Private Rental Sector.

So what should you do if you own a property that falls into this banding. The likelihood is that you can make some relatively inexpensive changes and they can have a big impact. We are always happy to discuss an individual property to help you maximise the potential.

Normally the lower banded properties are the older buildings – either solid stone or solid brick construction.  This will generally produce a recommendation on the EPC for internal or external wall insulation. In general this can be either prohibitively expensive or really inconvenient – internal insulation reduces room sizes! If this is a route you want to take please ensure you have documentary evidence and photographs of the work being done – as assessors we can only record what we see so once the work is completed we need proof of any insulation – not just a newly plastered wall.

Being really honest the best way to improve ratings is to look at the heating. Many rental properties are on electric only heating and there is a trend for pulling out the old night storage heaters and putting in trendy electric panel heaters – but they are just that – a panel heater!

Also consider that unheated rooms adversely effect the EPC rating – all habitable rooms (living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen diners) should be heated in some way.

One of the biggest energy costs can be the hot water. In electric only properties the most common option is immersion heater but a single immersion can be  costly. Consider making the immersion dual or in the case of flats if there is already and only an electric shower, that an instantaneous water heater maybe more suitable and efficient – it will certainly show on the EPC rating.

There are still a few situations where you maybe able to get funding towards cavity or loft insulation, and even replacement boilers but there are a lot of caveats attached to this (boiler type, property location and age, benefits received) but again we are happy to discuss any property to see where improvements can be made cost effectively.

Further information on the new EPC legislation affecting all landlords, see this post.

How to improve EPC rating?

First thing to ask yourself is what would you like your EPC rating to be on your property. The ratings run from A to G with A being the most efficient (same as your fridge), so naturally you would like your house to be an ‘A Rated’ property. The average property rating in the UK is in fact a band D. A great many newly built properties don’t achieve the A rating unless they include some renewable technology (Solar panels etc).

When we have conversations with clients on how to improve a properties rating we do tend to look at the cheaper options first and there are plenty of lower cost options which can make the biggest difference.

If you look at an EPC it will feature a list of improvements that you can carry out, some of these are ‘default’ recommendations which are not practical to achieve. Floor Insulation is in most cases completely impractical for most households to achieve. External/Internal Wall insulation will appear for any property built of stone or solid brick (generally built before 1929) even if it a beautiful granite faced building which you wouldn’t want to touch, that recommendation will appear. Whilst External Wall Insulation is suitable for a number of properties, it is a long term investment.

So let’s look at the practical low cost improvements.

Loft insulation – If you have a conventional lost space the level of insulation should be approx. 300mm (1 foot). This often the easiest improvement you can make but generally the hardest logically because we do tend to store a lot of ‘stuff’ in our loftspace – and no ‘stuff’ if not good insulation! The rolls of insulation can be bought relatively cheaply, the DIY stores often have offers on and it is a good opportunity to have a sort out. An important word of advice, if you have taken the time to put down the insulation don’t then squash it back under boarding or under ‘stuff’ invest in some risers (again from DIY stores) which will allow you to lay any boarding higher than joist level and therefore not ruin your hard work of insulation.

Cavity Wall insulation – if you have a property built before 1983, the chances are that any cavity wall will be empty. There have been loads of grants around for getting the cavity wall insulation done free of charge – and there are still a few around but you have to look a little harder.

An interesting point for those who have had the wall insulation done (look for the telltale drill holes) if you are finding that you don’t think it has been done properly, it is worth checking with CIGA (Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) as there is a 25 year with the insulation and if you are still within the guarantee period you may be able to get it replaced even if the installer company is no longer trading.

Heating – if you have a gas boiler and it is has an efficiency below 80% then you could expect it to come up as a recommendation on the EPC, even if it is serviced regularly every year and has never been a problem, it will over time become more expensive to run.

But almost as important as the boiler, the heating controls can make a big impact on the EPC rating. I always think of it as a triangle – timer/programmer, thermostat, radiator TRVs. Having all of these, even if the programmer and thermostat are a combined unit, are seen as giving you the most efficient control of your heating system.

And lets not neglect your hot water cylinder, if you have one then it should have a cylinder thermostat attached to it, and it should be well insulated (minimum 50mm insulation, either factory fitted or loose jacket)

Electric heating – there is a definite trend to install the very sexy looking electric radiators, often to replace night storage heaters which are considered a bit old fashioned. One of the problems with night storage heaters is that they work on a system of ‘drift heat’ so ideally all rooms should be left with doors open to allow the heat to ‘drift’ through but this now rarely happens (especially if you have teenagers) There are now highly efficient ‘quantum’ storage heaters which almost as controllable as a gas central heating system and worth a look. However if you choose to remove all storage heaters and install electric radiators, you will find a recommendation to ‘install night storage heaters’ on the EPC. Our advice is to keep one night storage heater in a habitable room – not a hallway, and this will make the difference.

Also keep to the dual rate electricity tariff that would have gone with the night storage heaters and make sure you have a dual immersion – again it is a little trick that can make all the difference on the EPC rating.
Lightbulbs – first thing that always gets mentioned when you talk energy efficiency – Lightbulbs. To give you an idea if you have your property half with Low Energy Bulbs and half not – changing to all LELs with add 1 point to the EPC rating – 1 point can still make a difference but it is not as dramatic a difference as some of the other things mentioned.

Open Fires – fabulous in the winter, but impacts on the EPC as it is an inefficient heating system. A wood burner is more practical or if you don’t use the fireplace then block off the chimney part – you will see us check chimneys by feeling for the draught.

These are just a few of the lower cost (honest) things you can do but if you want some advice and pointers so that you make sure that any improvements have the impact you are looking for then we are happy to give you some free advice.

Also see: What is an EPC?

When were EPCs introduced?

Energy Performance Certificates were introduced back in 2008 by the Government as part of its plan to improve the country’s housing stock which was in a fairly poor condition.

Although it was introduced at the same time as the now defunct Home Information Packs, the EPC has always been a separate item and is written into UK Legislation.

The EPC has gone through a new changes in its time, mainly by improvements to the conventions laid down that we as assessors have to follow, this means that EPCs which are less than  2 years old are a better reflection of the property than those produced 6 years ago. This is just reflecting an improvement in standards, taking into newer technologies and renewable energy.

Once produced and EPC is valid for 10 years. If you choose to re-sell a property within that time period, you are not obliged to have another EPC done but you may want to if you have made any improvements to the property, even if it is something as simple as adding some extra loft insulation or replacing a boiler. Why would you not want to show how you have improved the property!

Although when they were initially introduced they were aimed at those selling their properties, they have now become an essential part of the rental sector and most noteably that from 1st April 2018 if you have a property which is band F or G that you wont be able to let that property. If this applies to any properties in your portfolio I would suggest you give it your attention now.

Also see: How to Improve EPC rating? & What is an EPC?

Who are Utility Warehouse?

Utility Warehouse are about a lot more than just a Utility supplier they are a Discount Club, which can offer its members discounts on a range a products and yes although it does include gas and electric supply, and yes it does cover telephone and broadband service but it also covers mobile phones, cashback card, online shopping discounts and more.

The rates are always competitive and switching is really easy. It is a British company with a British support line with British staff. And if you get bothered by energy companies offering you better deals, if you tell them you are with Utility Warehouse they normally leave you alone because they know you are getting the best deal.

Personally we have been Utility Warehouse customers for more than 10 years. We are classed as ‘Gold Members’ because we have Gas, Electric, Phone, Broadband and use the Cashback Card. Every month we receive ONE bill for everything (and saved a few trees) We also have our Feed In Tariff from our Solar Panels included and just take this off our bill (our choice).

We do our shopping and buy fuel from Sainsburys and get 3% cashback on all our purchases. Using the cashback card in many High Street shops can give up to 7% cashback and if we use the Online Offers this can stack up even more savings.

Putting all these together we generally have 2 or 3 months a year where we have a credit on our monthly bill. Can you imagine having months where you can get all those utility services paid just from Feed In Tariff payments and using the cashback card. Sun keep shining!

But don’t think that you have to take out a full package to get the benefits. We are always happy to give you a comparison price on just phone & broadband or even just a mobile contract – our rates are very competitive and we can offer a full range of popular handsets.

If you would like to know more about the services or would like to arrange for us to work out what potential savings are there for you then please call without obligation or take a look at our Utility Warehouse landing page at:

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