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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are unenforceable, say rural landlords

A group of rural landlords has called on the government to clarify Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation being introduced next year. 

The CLA, which represents 30,000 landlords, says the government is running out of time to make 'crucial amendments' to MEES. 

As of next April, it will be illegal to let a property that has an Energy Performance Certificate rating lower than an E-.

The CLA - which has a membership providing over 40% of all privately let homes in rural areas - says the current proposed legislation is unenforceable. This is because it has been drafted as if it will be supported by the Green Deal, which was in fact scrapped back in 2015.

The organisation says there remain unanswered questions such as whether owners of listed or conservation properties will be required to comply.

“The industry has repeatedly called on the government to revise the MEES regulations and its failure to make any progress in two years since the Green Deal was scrapped is not good enough,” says Tim Breitmeyer, deputy president of the CLA. 

“With less than a year to go and the further delay of the General Election, time looks to be running out.” 

He says that a third of the homes which will be affected by the legislation have been given lower EPC ratings than they actually deserve due to errors in the way the government assesses the energy efficiency of traditional solid wall buildings.

“Although the government has recently consulted on fixing these mistakes, we have received no assurances these will be rectified before the April 2018 deadline,” adds Breitmeyer. 

“We support the principles behind the MEES regulations but there are so many errors, delays and uncertainties that it is almost impossible to advise anyone on how to be proactive and ensure compliance.” 

“Without the framework in place it is unjustifiable to ask landlords to act on the regulations when so much remains unclear,” he concludes.

Just last week, management agency Lee Baron reminded industry colleagues and landlords about the importance of preparing for next year's changes, which will also apply to existing leases from April 2020.

The CLA has authored a report, 'The Retrofit-Up - How Government energy policy is failing traditionally built homes across the British countryside', which you can view here.

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