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        Minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector (MEES)

        Thanet District Council has a duty to ensure that private landlords fulfil their obligations under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the regulations”). Since 01 April 2020, it has been unlawful for a private landlord to rent out a domestic property if it has an EPC rating of F or G, unless a valid exemption has been registered on the PRS Exemptions Register.

        The council’s Private Sector Housing Team is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations and is available to offer advice and guidance to landlords and tenants.

        The following guidance is only an overview of the law. Landlords must also refer to the regulations and government guidance.

        Frequently asked questions

        The regulations were introduced to help improve energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are also intended to help tenants in need of more thermally efficient homes, particularly those who are vulnerable or fuel poor, so they are able to enjoy a more comfortable and healthier living environment and lower energy bills.

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        Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are legally required when a relevant property is built, sold or rented. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to a G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. An EPC contains:

        • Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs; and
        • Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

        Sellers and landlords must commission an EPC for potential buyers or tenants before marketing a property for sale or letting where no valid EPC already exists. Sellers and landlords must make an EPC available when requested by a prospective buyer or seller as well as provide a copy of the EPC to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant.  Sellers and landlords who fail to fulfill their legal duties could be subject to a penalty charge. In addition, a landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 notice if they failed to provide their tenant with a copy of a valid EPC. Kent County Council (“KCC”) is responsible for ensuring that sellers and landlords obtain an EPC when required to do so.

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        Private landlords must either:

        • Ensure their rented properties have an minimum EPC rating of E or above; or
        • Register a valid exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register.

        Landlords who fail to do so are in breach of the regulations.

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        The valid exemptions are:

        • Where all relevant improvements have been made (or there are none that can be made) within the cost cap of £3,500 (inc. VAT);
        • If the lowest cost recommended improvement would exceed the £3,500 (inc. VAT) cost cap;
        • If wall insulation has been recommended, but a recognised expert is of the opinion that it would be detrimental to the property;
        • If a third party withholds consent (e.g. tenant, superior landlord, mortgage, freeholder, or planning authority);
        • If, according to a recognised expert, the recommended measures would decrease the value of the property by more than 5%;
        • When a person recently becomes a landlord in prescribed circumstances, a six-month exemption will apply.

        The above exemptions usually last for five years, unless otherwise stated.

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        Exemptions must be registered, together with the required proof, by a landlord or an agent acting on their behalf on the PRS Exemptions Register.

        The council periodically reviews the PRS Exemptions Register to monitor landlords’ compliance with the regulations.

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        The council investigates any potential breaches of the regulations.  Landlords who breach the regulations may be subject to a Penalty Notice, which would impose a financial and/or publication penalty.  The potential breaches and maximum penalties are:

        • Breaching the ban on letting a property with an F or G rating for less than three months: £2,000;
        • Breaching the ban on letting a property with an F or G rating for more than three months: £4,000;
        • Registering false or misleading information on the PRS Exemptions Register: £1,000;
        • Failing to provide information to the council demanded by a Compliance Notice: £2,000.

        The total amount of financial penalty imposed by the council in respect of any one tenancy must not exceed £5,000. A publication penalty relates to the publication of certain information contained in a Penalty Notice on the PRS Exemptions Register. Further information can be found in the council’s Enforcement policy for imposing financial and publication penalties under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

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        Recommended energy efficiency improvements for the property can be found on the current EPC. Landlords must either self-fund improvements and/or use third party funding where available, but are not required to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) to comply with regulations.

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        You can help the council in tackling the worst energy efficient homes by reporting your landlord and your property address to the Private Sector Housing Team by email on housing.conditions@thanet.gov.uk or by telephone on 01843 577437.

        If your property is particularly cold you may also wish to make a complaint about your housing conditions.

        • Find out how to make a complaint about your housing conditions here
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