On 15 October 2019 the Government launched a consultation on how best to improve the energy performance of non-domestic private rented buildings through tighter minimum energy standards. The consultation dubbed ‘The Future Trajectory to 2030’ is designed to support a zero-carbon future and seeks to amend the 2015 Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations.

Currently, the MEES require that from 1 April 2018, landlords of privately rented property in England and Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.

The Government’s consultation outlines two different targets that the Government could set to tighten the existing MEES:

  • Raise the minimum EPC rating from E to B by 2030. This is the Government’s preferred target and it is suggested that this would bring 85% of buildings into scope; and
  • Raise the minimum EPC rating from E to C by 2030. This would only bring 42% of buildings into scope.

The Government has suggested gradually implementing these changes through incremental milestones. The milestones could either be applied when renewing leases or simply be made applicable to all buildings. The idea would be to set targets for commercial private rented buildings to achieve certain EPC ratings by certain dates before they can be newly rented or continue to be rented.

The consultation is part of the UK’s commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The closing date for the consultation is 7 January 2020.

Readers may be wondering why the Government has rolled out this consultation at such an early stage and after the MEES Regulations only took effect less than two years ago. The consultation explains that the aim is to provide landlords with ample time to be able to deliver the energy savings.

If you would like advice in this area you can contact our experienced Commercial Property team by calling 0161 941 4000 or by email.