Potential delay to EPC rules for commercial properties

Since April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) has prohibited landlords from renting commercial properties that do not meet certain environmental standards.

In news that may come as no surprise to the sector, however, the government has now stated in its response to the Climate Change Committee’s 2023 Annual Progress Report that it will be 'updating' the proposed timelines for minimum EPC levels for commercial properties, to allow 'sufficient lead in time for landlords and the supply chain'.

The government has been rowing back on a number of green targets over the last few months, and the direction of travel on EPC rules had been indicated by an announcement in September 2023 where minimum EPC requirements for residential properties were scrapped.

While this breathing space may come as a relief to the owners of commercial space across England with an EPC rating below C, which would have been the minimum from 2027, it does create further confusion in the market that was adapting to the impact of MEES.

Since the minimum standards for commercial property have still not been abolished entirely, many landlords will be considering whether to continue to refurbish and redevelop their properties ahead of an anticipated extended deadline, while also assessing other creative solutions.

With React News reporting 19,000 commercial buildings across the UK with a rating below EPC F, and so already non-compliant with the current regulations, there is clearly huge work to be done across the sector, whether the MEES requirements are tightened further or not.

The government has seemingly rowed back on its demand for commercial landlords to upgrade properties to EPC C or higher by 2027.

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This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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