Almost a third of respondents to a survey by green consultancy Core Sustainability admitted they were unaware that both commercial and domestic landlords would be barred from signing up new tenants for properties with EPC ratings of F and G from April next year, when the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force.
Even fewer respondents were aware residential landlords would be unable to continue to let F- and G-rated properties to existing tenants from April 2020 or that commercial landlords would be unable to do so from April 2023. Some 42% did not even know how many buildings in their portfolios were currently rated F and G.
“As we fast approach the 12-month marker to the introduction of MEES regulations, it is clear there is still a lot of work to be done,” says Daniel Montlake, founder of Core Sustainability. “The industry remains somewhat complacent in its assessment of compliance and enforcement.
“Portfolio stakeholders, especially landlords and property managers, must be more proactive in managing their EPCs to harness their competitive advantage, attract and maintain quality tenants and keep their properties’ capital and rental values buoyant,” adds Montlake.
A separate piece of research by Arbnco, the environmental consultancy previously known as CO2 Estates, also warns landlords against complacency.
It says that when it retested the EPC ratings of 3,500 “well-managed” properties, many buildings previously thought to meet the minimum requirements had actually fallen short, with some 19% of E-rated properties falling to an F or G rating when retested.
“Smart investors will be looking well beyond the minimum standards if they want to effectively manage energy risks in their portfolios,” says co-founder Maureen Eisbrenner of Arbnco. “There is a strong chance that when the regulations are formally reviewed again the minimum standards will be raised.”