MEES: a wake-up call to commercial landlords

It’s not often that we use these channels to nag our audience, clients or not, and we hate saying: ‘Told you so,’ when things go wrong.

So we took no pleasure reading recent reports that almost 20% of commercial buildings have fallen into a lower EPC rating than when previously assessed.

From April 1st, all commercial properties need to be graded E or above in their EPC assessment to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in order to be eligible for leasing.

Public or private landlords will not be able to grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants for any property scoring F or G from now.

Estimates put a value of £130 billion on the amount of property across the UK which will be potentially unlettable due to failures by landlords to implement energy efficiencies.

But how could this situation have arisen when the new regulations have been widely publicised for months now – and when responsible landlords should have been keeping on top of improvements they could be making as part of a rolling programme of maintenance?

Situations like this are frustrating to companies like ours. It’s not because it represents loss of income for us (although we can’t deny it would always be nice to have extra work like this on our books!) Rather it’s because if people are failing to heed explicit warnings about their own responsibilities which ultimately affect their livelihood, how can we ever expect them to think outside the box about the bigger environmental picture?

Much of this green journey we’re all embarking on – some more reluctantly than others – is self-motivated or driven by peer pressure. Legislation should bind together collective good practice to bring those lagging behind up to speed and enshrine in law what works. It’s disappointing when it’s the principal driver to reform – and people still flout it.

Let’s hope the financial burden of failing to let a property is enough of a wake-up call to landlords to make them put their collective hand in their pockets and carry out the work required to provide the most energy efficient properties they can to our business communities – and ultimately save themselves money in energy bills and routine maintenance.

The built environment is a key player in the emissions story so it’s vital more is done to curb its negative impact.

MEES is there for a reason – a very good one. Let’s hope we see a flurry of activity in the landlord client base of Syntegra (and, in fairness other sustainability companies like us) with a move to rush through a mass improvement plan to make our commercial buildings as environmentally-friendly as possible.

  • Details of our commercial energy audit service can be found here