As many business owners continue to navigate the current economic and political climate, an area that may have been overlooked is the pending changes to the energy efficiency standards of commercial buildings.
Under the current Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards regulations, commercial buildings have an EPC rating that goes from A to G – where F and G are the worst performing.
From 1st April 2023, the rules are to become stricter, and it will be unlawful for landlords to continue to let a property with a rating lower than a ‘E’. Fines of up to £150,000 will be issued for those who fail to comply.
Prudent business operators in rented office space will wish to ensure compliance and avoid unwanted surprises.
Checking whether your rented property complies with the regulations is a quick and free process, via the government online portal: www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate
If your property has a rating of E or better, you’re ok for now although the Government plans to change the minimum EPC rating to C by 2027 and B by 2030.
Where a property has a rating of F or G, the landlord and tenant should open dialogue with one another as soon as possible; to agree upon works to the property to improve the energy efficiency; and improving the EPC rating to comply with the regulations.
Works to improve the rating of a rented property should be at the building owner’s cost and completed in advance of 1st April 2023 to enable a new EPC to be obtained to demonstrate compliance with the new rules.
There are limited exemptions from the new rules for certain properties or where there are legitimate reasons such as the cost of improvements being disproportionate recorded on the PRF Exemption Register. Advice should be taken where you are not certain of compliance.