Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations 2015

Since 01 April 2020 all domestic private rented properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least band E. 

An EPC rating of a property cannot exist in isolation. Adequate heating and insulation must always be provided.  Where work takes place to improve a property consideration should also be given to the Cornwall Rental Standard

Landlords with properties that have an EPC rating of F or G must not create or renew a tenancy until the property is improved.

If a landlord is not able to improve the property a valid exemption must be registered on the PRS national exemptions register.

Non-compliance with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards can lead to a penalty of up to £5,000.  Trading Standards are responsible for enforcing the requirement of having an EPC. 

What should landlords and tenants do next?

Landlords must ensure there is a valid EPC when marketing a property for rent.  When a new tenancy is being created the property must meet the minimum energy efficiency rating of E, unless there is a valid exemption.

Your Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) will recommend measures which will increase your energy performance rating.

Tenants should be given a copy of the EPC when they move in. Tenants can check the rating of their property. If the property does not meet the minimum standard, discuss this with the landlord. Tenants can ask for improvements to be made.

If you believe the property does not meet the requirements please us for more help.

DCLG have provided full guidance on the HHSRS for Landlords and Property Related Professionals and there is a guide to the Private Rental Sector Minimum Standards.


Not all properties will be able to meet the Minimum Energy Performance requirements. There are specific exemptions that landlords may apply for.

There are 6 exemptions which can be registered:

  • Where all improvements up to the value of £3500 have been made and the property still can not achieve an E rating
  • High Cost exemption. Where the cheapest improvement works exceed £3500 (no low cost measures are available).
  • Wall insulation isn’t suitable
  • Third party consent denied, ie Local Planning Authority, freeholder etc
  • Property devaluation
  • 6 month temporary exemption for a new landlord

The Planning Service can tell you whether you will get permission for each of the suggested improvements. This can be found at planning advice regarding any necessary Energy Efficiency improvements.

All exemptions must be registered on the national PRS exemptions register.

Guidance on PRS exemptions and Exemptions Register evidence requirements shows you how to register your exemption.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

HMOs are not excluded from the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

MEES applies to all domestic and non-domestic properties, where:

  • there is a legal requirement to have an EPC
  • the property is let (including the letting of individual rooms) on a relevant tenancy type

Individual rooms within an HMO will not need an EPC, but the building as a whole may need one if it was built, sold or rented out in the past 10 years.

If an HMO is required to have an EPC, and if it is let on one of the qualifying tenancy types, then it will need to comply with the minimum level of energy efficiency.

Historic and listed buildings

Historic Buildings, Listed Buildings or buildings within a conservation area are exempt if:

"compliance with the minimum energy requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance".

This is not a blanket exemption. If a building is protected it may still be possible to make improvements. This is only possible where the character or appearance is not altered.

Unacceptable alterations in the majority of protected buildings would be:

  • Double Glazing
  • New Doors and Windows
  • External Wall insulation
  • External boiler flues

However, there are many more low impact measures that may be acceptable.

The onus is on the owner to understand which works may, or may not, be permitted on their property.

When applying for an exemption, owners will need to evidence that:

  • all recommended measures on their EPC would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building, and,
  • that none of the recommended measures could have been carried out, to improve the energy efficiency of the building

Owners of such properties should seek advice from Planning Department. The Planning Service can provide evidence for an exemption based on planning approval for each improvement.

They will investigate the likelihood of obtaining planning permission, or listed building consent. 

Funding for improvements

In some circumstances funding maybe available to cover the cost or provide a contribution to the improvement works required to comply with the regulations.

This funding is available through different providers and therefore you may want to explore the different areas of funding before starting any improvement works.

There is an online tool available to assist with improving energy efficiency in the home.  Please visit the Simple Energy Advice website to explore the availability of funding.

This site will provide up-to-date information in relation to the Government's Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, which provides funding towards the cost of energy efficiency improvements to homes in England, including private rented properties. 

Advice regarding funding can also be found by contacting the following organisations:

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