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How to Get a Commercial MEES Exemption

How to Get a Commercial MEES Exemption

Do the MEES apply to my property?

Whereas in the domestic sector, where every privately let property in England and Wales is subject to an EPC, the commercial side of MEES has a few types of let that are not covered. If your commercial property falls under any of the following then you do not require an EPC and therefore no exemption is needed:

  • Properties rented with leases lasting 99 years or more
  • Properties rented with leases lasting 6 months or less
  • Properties that are do not require an EPC:
    • Listed or officially protected buildings where the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it
    • A temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less
    • Buildings used as a place of worship or for other religious activities
    • Industrial commercial sites, workshop or non-residential agricultural buildings that doesn’t use much energy (this generally amounts to including any warehouse space with no attached office or heating system)
    • Any detached building with a total floor space under 50 square metres
    • Any property due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents

How can I get a MEES exemption for my commercial property?

To be exempt from commercial MEES rules, your property must be filed with the Private Rented Sector Exemption Register. The register is the same regardless of whether your property is a pub, a warehouse, a theme park, or a shop. There are several ways to get on the register, but each comes with it’s own necessary paperwork.

Below we’ve run through each exemption and what is needed for filing for it. Unless indicated otherwise, all of the exemptions are valid for 5 years from the date of issue:

A recommended wall insulation measure would have a negative impact on the building

  • The written opinion of a relevant expert that the property can’t be improved to an E rating because a recommended wall insulation measure would have a negative impact on the property


All relevant improvements have been made and the property remains below an E

  • A recommendation report that shows any energy efficiency improvement recommended for the property. This could be an EPC report, a report prepared by a surveyor, or a Green Deal report.
  • Details of all recommended energy efficiency improvements which have been made at the property, including the date of installation.


The property is below an E and there are no improvements which can be made

  • A recommendation report that shows that no improvements can be made. This could be an EPC report, a report prepared by a surveyor, or a Green Deal report.


A recommended energy efficiency improvement does not meet the seven year payback rule

  • Three quotes from qualified installers for the cost of purchasing and installing the energy efficiency improvement
  • Confirmation that you are sure that the improvement does not meet the seven year payback rule, including the calculations made to show this


Consent to an energy efficiency improvement was refused or made subject to unreasonable conditions

  • Evidence that consent for an energy efficiency improvement was required and that this was asked for, and that consent was refused or granted subject to unreasonable conditions


The installation of specific energy efficiency measures will devalue the property by more than 5%

  • A report from an independent RICS surveyor that provides evidence that the installation of a relevant measure would devalue the property by more than 5%


You have recently become a landlord under circumstances that qualify the property for an exemption

  • The date that you became the landlord
  • To explain which of the qualifying circumstances apply

Is it worth getting a commercial MEES exemption?

The process for commercial MEES exemptions can be both time consuming and complicated, and even once completed it doesn’t provide quite the guarantee you might expect. Given that MEES are a locally enforced piece of legislation, local authorities are open interpret it in different ways, with some viewing the commercial exemption register as effectively non-binding. A standard commercial MEES exemption is set for 5 years, but unless your local authority is willing to honour this you may find yourself in trouble down the line.

While exemptions are certainly possible for commercial buildings, our advice at London EPC is to first explore how you might be able to reach the E-grade minimum requirement first. In many cases it is much easier than you might first imagine for a commercial property to reach this level, especially with the assistance of our expert surveyors, who are committed to producing the best possible certificate for your property.

If your first EPC does not reach the required grade, our surveyors will take you through all the cheapest and most effective ways to increase your points without finding yourself out of pocket. This can be as simple as paperwork and changing out some light bulbs. On most occasions, the low cost upgrades recommended by our surveyors will get your property to a MEES compliant grade at a much lower cost than the necessary paperwork for the exemption register would have been.

If you have any questions about how or if you should apply for a commercial MEES exemption, feel free to send us an email or give us a call.

EPC Retail Unit in Catford

EPC Case Study: Retail Unit in Catford

This client contacted us needing an EPC for their small retail unit in Catford. The unit is only around 30m² with a toilet and shop floor.

What does London EPC charge for retail EPC certificates?

For any retail unit under 100 and all on a single floor, we charge £120+VAT. This covers any commercial unit inside the M25, with a small excess for travel if we need to travel further out.

Heating and water

Arriving at the property in Catford, we see a simple mid-terrace shop with a flat roof. The only external walls are at the front and rear; clearly there is no external wall or cavity insulation as these are standard 9 inch brick walls. The roof also has no insulation as far as we can tell, which will again negatively impact the EPC.

The lighting is always going to be crucial for a commercial spaces and retail units, because the lights are going to be on pretty much all day everyday in your typical shop. The good news is that these lights were all LED, which improves the rating significantly on this type of commercial property.

Construction and lighting

There is no fixed heating in the retail unit, and because the space is retail, we therefore have to enter the worst case scenario in to the EPC software for the heating, which is an electric room heater. If the space was a workshop or a warehouse, it could be entered as an unheated space in the software because heating is not considered a necessity for that kind of space. However under these circumstances the lack of fixed heating system in the retail unit had a negative effect on the final EPC score.

There is also an electric water heater at the rear – these small units are actually great for smaller spaces like this. They don’t take up much room, and they are also quite efficient because they don’t store much hot water in them, instead only supplying hot water when required. This limits the heat loss and helps bring up the EPC.

Retail EPC in Catford: Final Rating

The retail unit was very simple to enter into the software. It had some good things going for it – namely the hot water and the lighting – but also some not so good points in terms of the heating and insulation. The final EPC rating was a D. This was mostly due to the lighting. Indeed, if the property had halogen lighting or another inefficient system, the rating would have been much lower, and perhaps even unrentable as per the MEES regulations.


How London EPC can help your business conform with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

How London EPC can help your business conform with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

What are the commercial MEES?

MEES stands for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and were bought in by the Government to help improve the energy efficiency of privately rented commercial and domestic properties.

MEES is specifically targeting older properties since newer properties, provided they were built in accordance with building regulations, should automatically achieve the required levels of energy efficiency.

How does the commercial MEES exemption register work?

MEES states that if a commercial building has an EPC rating of F to G, then it cannot be rented out unless the landlord registers the property on the National PRS Exemptions Register. The problem is that the criteria to get on the exemption register are very tough, and once on it the property will only be there for 5 years before you need to apply for it again on the exemption register.

You can learn more about the 7 different types of exemptions here.

How can London EPC help you conform with commercial MEES?

At London EPC, we can help you get on the exemption register however in our experience there is a far simpler way. One that allows you to rent out your property for 10 years without having to go through the pain of compiling the required evidence to appear on the exemption register.

It is all to do with the commercial EPC and the level of detail that can be entered into the commercial EPC software. If an assessor cannot enter the specific details of the commercial property in to the EPC software then they must enter ‘default’ values. The problem with default values is they are significantly worse in terms of the final EPC score than entering the specific values.

As a result, an inexperienced EPC surveyor will quickly do the site survey and not record the information that will significantly improve the EPC rating – so typically the final EPC certificate will fall within the F to G range.

At London EPC, our assessors know the exact details that can take this EPC from an unrentable F or G to a rentable E rating, forsaking the need to go the exemption route.

Typically, the additional detail will relate to lighting, heating systems and HVAC systems, but all our assessors know exactly what to look for. Even if after we have completed the survey and the building doesn’t quite make the ‘rentable’ grade, then we work closely with the landlord to ensure the cheapest way to get it to the required level. 99 times out of 100, these improvements are still cheaper (and quicker!) than going down the exemption route.

That is why our client base is growing on a daily basis. London EPC have carried out thousands of commercial ECP’s, working with a huge range of of different businesses for the last 8 years to help them achieve the required EPC certificates to be able to rent their properties with a minimum of fuss.

If you require commercial EPCs and want to avoid the costly and time-consuming exemption route then give us a call!

epc warehouse and workshop in barking

EPC Case Study: Warehouse and Workshop in Barking

Warehouse and Workshop EPC in Barking

These two commercial units were having their leases renewed and as part of this process required an EPC. As you may be aware, as part of the MEES legislation any properties with new leases need an EPC, and furthermore require at least an E rating to be rentable.


Pricing the Barking units

The units were around 150m², with only a few zones in each. This means we priced both the warehouse and workshop at £140+ VAT each. The good news is that this is pretty common; most warehouses and workshops are not complicated buildings, so even larger buildings will not be as expensive as a similar sized office or retail unit.


Do workshops and warehouses need an EPC?

If a property is unheated, and wouldn’t generally require heating (like most workshops and warehouses), then an EPC may not be required. We often get asked to provide an EPC even in situations like these however, and this is usually because the bank or solicitor has requested an EPC. It is often easier to get the certificate done rather than try to find a way around it. As we will see, the final rating may be better than you first might think, because of this very fact that it is an unheated space.

epc warehouse and workshop in barking

Heating in warehouses and workshops

Normally with commercial units that have no heating present, the assessor will have to enter a default heating system into the software; the default is electric heating, which lowers the final rating significantly. Fortunately, because warehouses and workshops are often unheated and heating is largely unnecessary, there is an exception in the EPC for them. This means that an unheated space like this can still achieve a good EPC rating, provided the other elements of the building are up to scratch – particularly the lighting.


What did we see on the visit to Barking

The workshop was over 2 floors and was clearly just a workshop with no office or other spaces. The lighting was standard T8 fluorescents throughout and there was no heating or hot water heating in the property. T8 lighting performs well in comparison to halogen and incandescent lighting, but isn’t as good as LED fittings.

Although there was no insulation in the buildings, this was irrelevant. Where there is no heating, there is obviously no need to insulate.


The Final Rating

Both of the Barking units ended up achieving a D rating, which meant they had no issues being rented out to their tenants.