Landlords in England and Wales have less than a month to ensure that their properties meet standards set out in the Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency (MEES) regulations. The regulations require all rental homes to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E.

The MEES regulations came into force in April 2018, making it illegal for a landlord to grant a new tenancy for a residential property with an EPC rating of F or G. From 1 April 2020, MEES will apply to existing tenancies. The penalty for breaching the regulations is a fine of up to £4,000.

If you are worried about bringing your property up to standard in time, you may qualify for an exemption. Grounds include if your tenant refuses to consent to improvements or if carrying out the necessary works will cost you more than a £3,500 cap. You will be expected to carry out measures up to this cost cap and to register your property on the PRS Exemptions Register.

There are several steps that you can take if your rental property currently has an EPC rating of less than E – some of which can be done simply and cheaply. Consider switching to LED lightbulbs, installing loft installation and fitting a smart meter, for example. While more costly, a new boiler could improve your rating to the required standard and be a good investment. Grants for improvements may also be available from local authorities and other sources.

Jessica Slater, a real estate litigation solicitor at London law firm, Joelson said: “Given that the date for compliance is fast approaching, landlords should be taking immediate steps to ensure that any properties within their portfolio that currently fall below EPC rating E are improved without delay.”

Read more about this story on the What Mortgage website.