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Landlords urged to prepare for new MEES regulations in April

Landlords of the draughtiest homes in England and Wales will be required to upgrade their properties ahead of new rules requiring the installation of energy efficiency measures.

Since April 2018, new rules have been in place across England and Wales, setting out minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).

These regulations made it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.

While April 2018 heralded an initial change in the rules regarding energy efficiency standards, the bigger picture will see regulations that affect all rental properties, irrespective of the length of tenancy, in April 2020, when it will become unlawful to rent any property that has an existing or continuing tenancy that fails to meet the minimum required energy rating.

The government is also considering raising this target in another couple of years, at which point ‘D’ is expected to be the minimum EPC rating, so it is worth getting your properties up to scratch now to prevent even more work later.

To help landlords understand the rule changes, Fladgate, a City law firm, has shared some information below to allow them to understand what precautionary measures they should take and the consequences of not complying with MEES.

Do I benefit from an exemption?

If your property is caught by the EPC regime, you must comply with the MEES Regulations, unless you can rely on one of a few exemptions available to landlords, including but not limited to:

1.       Exemption due to devaluation – a temporary exemption of 5 years will apply if a landlord can demonstrate that the installation of energy efficiency measures would reduce the market value of the property by more than 5%;

2.       Exemption for new landlords – if a person becomes a landlord recently or suddenly in specified circumstances under the MEES Regulations, a temporary exemption of six months will apply; and/or

3.       Third party consent – if a landlord cannot obtain necessary third party consents to improve the EPC rating of the property (including but not limited to lender consent, superior landlord consent and/or tenant consent), then a landlord may let a “sub-standard” property. 

A landlord wishing to rely upon an exemption must register an exemption on the online Private Rented Sector Exemptions Register. Local authorities give and keep these fines and so are incentivised to enforce the legislation. 

What if I don’t comply with the MEES Regulations?

If a landlord fails to comply with the MEES Regulations, there are financial penalties, which vary depending upon the length of the breach. 

A landlord renting out a “non-compliant” property (less than three months in breach) may be fined up to either £5,000 or 10% of a rateable value up to a maximum of £50,000, whichever is greater. 

A landlord renting out a “non-compliant” property (three months or more in breach) may be fined up to either £10,000 or 20% of the rateable value up to a maximum of £150,000, whichever is greater.

There is also a fine of up to £5,000 for providing false or misleading information, or failing to comply with a compliance notice. 

What should I do? 

The tightening of the MEES Regulations imposes further onerous obligations on landlords operating within the private rented sector.  

If you have a property with an EPC rating of F or G then unless one of the exemptions referred to above applies, you should begin preparing now for the extension of the regulations to existing tenancies to take effect on 1st April 2020. 

As the deadline fast approaches, landlords would be well advised to consider the following, in order to protect their assets:

1.       Review your property or property portfolios to identify whether or not properties are compliant;

2.       Consider the cost and extent of any works required;

3.       Consider access to the properties (lease terms permitting) to carry out works required to bring the properties up to the minimum ‘E’ rating; and

4.       Consider whether any exemptions may be relied upon. 

Failure to do so will impact upon landlords’ abilities to market and deal with their properties. 

There is speculation that MEES will rise again in 2022, making ‘C’ or ‘D’ the new minimum requirement. When considering any works to upgrade a property to comply with the MEES Regulations for April 2020, landlords should also bear in bind the potential future impact of the regulations. 
Source Marc Cohen

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If you have managed a property before, you will know that maintenance issues rarely arise at convenient times: Saturday night calls from the tenant and boilers break down on bank holidays. Whatever the problem, whenever it occurs, Wonderlease Property Management runs a 24/7 maintenance and emergency helpline.

Additional services are available via our Management Department, these include; complete refurbishments, extensions, loft/basement conversions, decorative improvements, new bathrooms and kitchens.

Property Valuations

For a true and accurate valuation we take into consideration recent market activity, general condition and location. When you are happy with the price, we are ready to prepare your marketing material. We offer excellent marketing packages which include professional photographs, floorplans, and an Energy Performance Certificate. We identify the unique selling points of your property and promote them in a set of details produced by one of our staff members.

Essential Landlord Information

From simply finding the tenants and arranging the move-in, to overseeing the entire tenancy, we are able to tailor our service to suit your requirements. Below is a breakdown of our Let Only, Rent Collection and Full Management Services.
View our Landlords Guide for Essential Landlord Information

Check in & Check out Reports

With our Fully Managed Service, we will carry out our own photographic inventory, on check-in and checkout. We will inform all utility suppliers along with the Council Tax and Water of the new tenant’s names and supply them with up-to-date meter readings.
Once the tenants vacate, Wonderlease will inspect the property and if necessary act on your behalf if any damage costs need to be deducted from the tenant’s deposit. We will also inform all utility suppliers, council tax and water that the tenants have moved out, and supply them with up-to-date meter readings. Please note all void periods are the Landlords responsibility to pay.

Rent Payments & Statements

You will receive monthly statements via email and/or post, showing rental income and outgoings, an annual statement is also provided at year end. Your accountant will be most impressed!

Property Inspections

Inspections are carried out twice a year, and we will send you updated photos and our opinion on how the property is being looked after.
We will advise tenants if a property is not being maintained in the correct way, this may be assistance with regular cleaning, condensation or damages that we need resolving.

Safety Regulations

Enjoy the peace of mind that Wonderlease will keep you updated if any new regulations for Landlords that come into effect. We will also help you arrange for these safety checks and certificates to be completed using our fully qualified contractors. For further information on any safety regulations, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to explain in greater detail.

Qualified Contractors

We work alongside some of the most highly qualified and experienced contractors in the local area. Each contractor is put through an interview with our Maintenance Manager before they can become part of our panel and be handed work.
As a company our standards are high, we expect the same from contractors. Our Contractors also offer discounts to Wonderlease clients and are also happy to wait for payment until the next rent has been collected.

Going the Extra Mile for our Landlords

Wonderlease can help with making any payments on your behalf in relation to your property. We offer complete peace of mind 24 hours a day and you will not be receiving any tenant(s) contacting you directly. Whether it be annual safety tests arranged on your behalf, negotiating tenancy renewals, rent Insurance information when requested, or just a general discussion about the current market trends be sure to know you’re in safe hands with Wonderlease.

Why Choose Us?

Established in 1988, Wonderlease Ltd is a family run business providing Sales, Lettings & Property Management all over East London and the Essex borders. We pride ourselves on offering a professional and bespoke service that cannot be beaten by any other Estate Agent.

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Permitted payments

For properties in England, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 means that in addition to rent, lettings agents can only charge tenants (or anyone acting on the tenant's behalf) the following permitted payments:

For properties in Wales, the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill , once enacted, means that in addition to rent, lettings agents can only charge tenants (or anyone acting on the tenant's behalf) the following permitted payments:

Tenant protection
In addition to publishing relevant fees, lettings agents are also required to publish details of:

Permitted payments

 

For properties in England, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 means that in addition to rent, lettings agents can only charge tenants (or anyone acting on the tenant's behalf) the following permitted payments:

• Holding deposits (a maximum of 1 week's rent);
• Deposits (a maximum deposit of 5 weeks' rent for annual rent below £50,000, or 6 weeks' rent for annual rental of £50,000 and above);
• Payments to change a tenancy agreement eg. change of sharer (capped at £50 or, if lower, any reasonable costs);
• Payments associated with early termination of a tenancy (capped at the landlord's loss or the agent's reasonably incurred costs);
• Utilities, communication services (eg. telephone, broadband), TV licence and council tax;
• Interest payments for the late payment of rent (up to 3% above Bank of England's annual percentage rate);
• Reasonable costs for replacement of lost keys or other security devices;
• Contractual damages in the event of the tenant's default of a tenancy agreement; and
• Any other permitted payments under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

 

For properties in Wales, the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill , once enacted, means that in addition to rent, lettings agents can only charge tenants (or anyone acting on the tenant's behalf) the following permitted payments:

• Holding deposits (a maximum of 1 week's rent);
• Deposits;
• Utilities, communication services (eg. telephone, broadband), TV licence and council tax;
• Payments for the late payment of rent;
• A breach of a term of the contract;
• Any other permitted payments under the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill and regulations once enacted.

 

Tenant protection

In addition to publishing relevant fees, lettings agents are also required to publish details of:

• the redress scheme they are a member of; and
• the name of the approved or designated Client Money Protection scheme they are a member of (if any).