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CLA calls for urgent review of minimum energy efficiency standards

Rural landlords are calling on the Government to provide clarity on its plans to review minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) set to be introduced next year.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has written to Alex Chisholm, the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to say that the Government is running out of time to make crucial amendments to energy efficiency rules set to come into force in the private rented sector.

The introduction of MEES will mean that from 1 April 2018 it will be illegal for a private landlord to let a property with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating lower than E to a new tenant and to an existing tenant from April 2020.

However, the organisation says the Government is yet to confirm how it will amend the MEES regulations, which are still drafted as if supported by the Green Deal despite it being scrapped in 2015, leaving them unenforceable.

In addition, there is still clarity required as to whether those who own listed buildings or properties in conservation areas must comply.

CLA deputy president Tim Breitmeyer said: “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. With less than a year to go and the further delay of the general election, time looks to be running out.

“In addition to the problems with the regulations, around one third of the homes set to be affected by MEES have been given lower EPC ratings than they deserve, due to mistakes 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.

“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. This has a negative impact on landlords, tenants and the Government’s own policy objectives.

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

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