For commercial landlords it's key to note that in two months’ time, the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) deadline, set out in the Energy Act, will be with us.
The coming MEES requirements are fundamentally shaking up the UK commercial property sector, and there is now only limited time for landlords to react. An energy inefficient estate is about to become a serious headache.
A leading insurance company advises swift action: “Lower rated commercial properties will not only become less attractive to future occupants, but may suddenly become illegal to rent out without energy-saving upgrades in place to bring them up to the required level.
“With fines of up to £150,000 for non-compliance, it is essential that property owners are aware of the new regulations.”
The bottom line; the new MEES rules, which come into force from April 1, 2018, mean that it will be unlawful to let or lease a commercial property with a poor energy rating.
The built environment has been identified by the Government as a leading contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Therefore, it must act to reduce GHG so it can meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets for 2020 and 2050.
The Government estimates that 18% of commercial properties hold the lowest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of F or G. MEES requires all buildings to achieve at least an 'E' rating before they can be leased or rented.
The rules come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
It's important to note that the minimum requirement may be raised in the future.
How to react to MEES?
A leading property advice website, rather succinctly, advises that now is the time to undertake an energy efficiency programme. That may not seem simple, but there are in fact many fast acting, quick payback opportunities out there that can solve MEES challenges fast.
Priva UK's heating control systems are just one such example. The Priva Blue ID building energy management system improves the accuracy of heating control across commercial estates.
Priva realises that in these rapidly changing times, commercial landlords are now faced with the challenge of achieving a sustainable building, combined with an optimum working climate for the lowest possible operating costs.
Meanwhile, legislation like MEES will likely continue to impose ever stricter requirements; building owners can expect more such laws to come in the future.
Therefore, the recommendation has to be; consider how futureproofed your commercial rental estate is, not just when MEES arrives in April, but for many more years to come.
Intelligent buildings management systems will cut CO2 emissions, minimise legislative risk and deliver a more profitable building, desirable to commercial tenants.
With April just around the corner, now really is the time to act.