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Landlords of commercial properties across Devon and Cornwall are being advised to seek expert advice and not to panic as the new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) deadline gets closer.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for commercial property will come into effect from 1st April 2018 and means it will not be possible to grant a new lease to a new tenant or renew a lease with an existing tenant unless the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has a minimum rating of E.

This standard will apply for existing leases from 2023 and a significant proportion of the building stock will be affected by these regulations.

But rather than rushing off and spending thousands of pounds to upgrade the building’s energy performance, property experts at the Plymouth office of Bruton Knowles are advising landlords take a more level-headed approach to ensure compliance.
Glenn Kelly, associate at the firm says that landlords should not get caught up in the hype and get sensible and reliable advice before committing to any capital expenditure.
Glenn said: “Ever since the new EPC rating deadline was set, there has been a lot of commentary on how landlords will be stuck with void properties because they hadn’t undertaken any remedial works.
“Our view is that compliance could be quite simple and by making some subtle changes to a building will see the rating potentially rise.
“We’ve provided advice to landlords where minor upgrades to their property led to an improvement in the building’s EPC rating.”
According the Glenn, landlords need to be reviewing their asset schedules to identify the properties with an EPC rating of F and G.
Once these properties have been identified a re-run of the EPC should be undertaken as the existing EPC may not take into account any improvements made to the property or default values and inappropriate assumptions were made in the original assessment and modelling process.
He added: “Potentially re-running the EPC process could bring the property up to an E rating, without having to invest significant capital expenditure.
“Early identification of measures which will achieve the minimum E rating and the determination of the nature of works to be undertaken and a programme of works is vital as this will allow capital expenditure to be managed accordingly.
“Appropriate periods for undertaking the works also need to be considered, such as during periods of planned refurbishment and maintenance, though lease clauses should be reviewed around landlord’s access for undertaking works if the tenant is still in situ.
“There is still time to make improvements to obtain the minimum rating but if landlords do not review the EPC ratings and start to make improvements, they will not be able to lease their property – unless they have applied for an exemption – which will affect their rental income and value of their property.”
For advice on EPC compliance please call Glenn Kelly in the Plymouth office on 01752 936101 or email [email protected]

Source: Devon live