At the time of publishing, there are just three months left for commercial landlords to comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations, and an increasing rush to update energy performance certificates (EPCs) is expected.
This is because commercial buildings failing to provide an EPC with a rating of E or above will not be allowed to renew existing lease agreements or be let to new clients from 1 April 2018.
Although this alone will have serious implications for building owners, landlords and facilities management companies and professionals, as well as tenants forced to seek alternative options, the prospect of financial penalties adds further gravity to the situation
Fines of £150,000
Those found to be in breach of the MEES regulations have the potential to be fined up to 20% of each property’s rateable value, which could see fines as high as £150,000 handed down for those found to be non-compliant three months after the deadline.
There is a further concern within this, due to the fact that the high number of non-compliant properties raises the question of whether there is sufficient resource for the necessary number of EPCs to be granted in time to comply.
An additional stumbling block could also be completing any necessary work required in sufficient time for the EPC revision to be carried out, as the expected rush is also predicted to stretch the resources of contractors and specialist service providers tasked with upgrading the facility in question.
Given the fact that loss of income and the possibility of substantial financial fines are at stake, compared to the advantages of complying with the MEES regulations that include reduced overheads and future-proofing of buildings, it is surprising that up to 800,000 properties are currently thought to be failing to meet minimum requirements.
This seems to be another case of failing to see the bigger picture, or perhaps that should be failure to convince the senior management team of the importance of releasing the necessary capital to comply with the MEES requirements.