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MEES "fundamentally flawed" for heritage properties, claims group

The CLA says the energy efficiency regulations for the lettings sector coming into effect in April are “fundamentally flawed” when it comes to listed and heritage buildings in rural areas.

The organisation - formerly called the Country Landowners Association, and now known as “the membership organisation for owners of land, property and business in rural England and Wales” - says ministers have failed to confront the issues in the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, or MEES.

From April 2018 it will be illegal to let a property with an energy performance certificate rating lower than E to a new tenant, and to an existing tenant from April 2020. 

The CLA says that it has consistently asked ministers to address what it calls “ambiguously exempt listed buildings from needing an EPC while at the same time requiring an EPC to demonstrate that the installation of recommended energy efficiency measures”. 

It claims some of those energy efficiency measures would “unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building.”

The CLA says EPCs are wholly inappropriate for assessing the true energy performance of a heritage building. It wants all listed buildings to be exempt from EPCs and property owners should instead “be encouraged to achieve energy efficiency through means that are more appropriate to the building type and construction”.

It says new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy guidelines on MEES advise owners of heritage property to make their own assessment of whether they require an EPC, or to seek advice from Trading Standards.

“There are hundreds of thousands of concerned owners of listed buildings who face continuing ambiguity. The policy is fundamentally flawed due to an error made when the government transposed the [EU] Energy Performance of Building Directive into UK law. Rather than admitting this and committing to doing something about it, the government is essentially just passing the problem on to thousands of property owners” claims CLA president Ross Murray.

“The result is endless confusion and potentially costly and unnecessary bills. Worse still, potential damage to good heritage buildings across the countryside as well as in towns and cities. This is a national issue which needs sorting. The failure of officials and ministers to confront the originally transposition error is an abdication of responsibility.”

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    surely the costs of making adaptations to listed buildings to improve their energy efficiency will not meet the "golden rule" and therefore will be exempt?

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    CIA get involved in everything these days

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    I’ve had to read this article 3 times as it just doesn’t make senses and only serves to confuse those in the LETTINGS industry.

    I really do wish that individuals, organisations and companies that do not specialise in the EPC market and its regulations consult or at least try to liaise with suitability qualified and competent individuals to assist in ensuring that the right information, language and advise is delivered.

    Listed buildings, of any status, do NOT require an EPC, this is not to say that they can’t have one the legislation, which change 4 years ago simply states the the requirement for a listed building to have an EPC for sales and lettings no longer exists.

    If however a listed building does indeed have an EPC then it is duly covered by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and as such will, or could fall foul of the regulations. Conversely if the alterations / changes required by the EPC would alter the appearance of a listed building or one that falls within a conservation area and permission for the respective requirements are refused by the local authority or heritage trust then the requirements to comply also fall away.

    Finally the paragraph that reads “The policy is fundamentally flawed due to an error made when the government transposed the [EU] Energy Performance of Building Directive into UK law. Rather than admitting this and committing to doing something about it, the government is essentially just passing the problem on to thousands of property owners” doesn’t mean anything at all!?!? Which part of the EPBD are you actually referring to but it is not clear, at all?

    Just to dispel a few myths -

    The second tier of standards which come into force April 18 will require ALL properties to be an ‘E’ category OR BETTER.

    If a property doesn’t have an EPC it is NOT covered by the regulations therefore don’t get one. If the tenant was to have an EPC commissioned this WOULD trigger the MEES.

    As an example, if the EPC was originally commission in 2009 and falls in to either an ‘F’ or ‘G’ category and you have a sitting tenant the property will not be covered by the MEES (considering the 2020 trigger) as the EPC is no longer valid (10 year shepherd life)

    If you have a EPC that was commissioned prior to 2010 you should give consideration to having the EPC refreshed as significant changes were introduced in the calculation methodology meaning that even if nothing had been changed / altered at a property often the rating would automatically increase. I’ve personally been pushing the industry to look at this for the last three years and only now have the government acknowledged that, in particular the solid wall categorisation within gathering EPC dataset, is flawed and is due to change in the next RdSAP updates.

    There are lots more key elements to the standards the most of us are not aware of as such I have been speaking at forums throughout the country for the last 8 months the next one is in November in the midlands if anyone would l8ke any additional information.

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    "Listed buildings, of any status, do NOT require an EPC, this is not to say that they can’t have one the legislation, which change 4 years ago simply states the the requirement for a listed building to have an EPC for sales and lettings no longer exists."

    Are you sure about that?????

    If however a listed building does indeed have an EPC then it is duly covered by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and as such will, or could fall foul of the regulations.

    Are you sure about that?????

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    Well unless something significant has changed recently which I’ve not been made aware of then I’m pretty sure!

    The following extract has been lifted directly from the Historic England website -

    “However, there are exemptions for certain types of building and since January 2013 listed buildings have been exempted from the need to have an EPC.”

    And as I sat on a number of the steering committee regarding the MEES I can assure you that if a propery does have a VALID EPC, irrespective of its status, it is indeed covered by the standards! But to confirm if permission is refused by an authority I.e planing authority, English heritage or potentially a parish council then the MEES would be satisfied.

    I hope this helps / clarifys the position.

    I’m currently presenting at a number of landlord forums through the midlands if this is local to yourself?

    Best regard

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    Published Yesterday.

    Listed Buildings and EPC Compliance

    There is a common misunderstanding regarding listed buildings and whether they are exempt from the requirement to obtain an EPC. Listed properties, and buildings within a conservation area, will not necessarily be exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC and it will be up to the owner of a listed building to understand whether or not their property is required to have an EPC. Where a listed privately rented domestic property, or a property within a conservation area, is required to have an EPC, that property will be within scope of the minimum energy efficiency standards.

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    The legislation states that listed properties do not require an EPC This doesn’t mean that property owners are not allowed them I.e. if they want to prove the efficiency of their property one can still be commissioned / provided. However if you speak to any Estate Agent they will advise that they are not duty bound to have an EPC in place for the purpose of marketing unlike every other property type.

     
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    Also yesterday

    24. A voluntary EPC may be registered on the official EPC database, but there is no requirement to do so. Where a voluntary EPC has been registered on the database it will supersede any earlier EPC that may have existed for the property, but official registration of a voluntary EPC will not, in itself, require the landlord to comply with the minimum standard.

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    The only way to register an EPC is on the EPC register. A EPC once lodged or registered, voluntarily or otherwise will automatically be registered on the central database. The only other way to do this is registering the EPC in a draft format.

     
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    Also

    1.1.4.5 Voluntary EPCs obtained for properties which are not legally required to have one

    23. In situations where an owner or occupier of a building which is not legally required to have an EPC has obtained one voluntarily (i.e. a voluntary EPC for a property which has not been sold, let or modified within the past ten years), the landlord will not be required to comply with the minimum standard Regulations. A voluntary EPC may have been commissioned by a landlord who believed in error that one was required for their property, or it may be one commissioned by a property owner or occupant who simply wanted

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    Perhaps you should do then forums ;-)

    I stand by my earlier points / comments as they are correct and in line with the legislation. I suspect and am sure that certain elements of the standards : legislation will be tested and then potentially judged upon.

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    It would seem they're not correct though, the publication yesterday contradicts what you're saying.

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