With the introduction of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in April 2018 there are many challenges for different sectors of industry. There is one sector in particular will have its own set of challenges, and that is the Property Management sector.
MEES will make the letting of any property, or unit within a property, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated at F or G, illegal.
The role of the Property Manager encompasses many of the issues that arise with the introduction of these regulations, when they come into force in April 2018. Below is a summary of each of these issues, and how each will affect the role of the Property Manager.
A Property Manager’s day to day responsibility usually includes managing any vacant, or soon to be vacant, units in a property, and this will involve ensuring EPCs are obtained as required by law. This may sound straight forward, but there are a number of factors to consider as follows: –
- Ideally there should be a schedule showing where EPCs exist, and where there are gaps. This could be in a spreadsheet format, or even better, in digital management system. It is important this is accurate and kept up to date.
- Any existing EPCs should be checked for quality and accuracy. This check should assess the date completed, the version of SBEM (the computer model used to produce an EPC), and the accuracy of the data so that a decision can be made as to whether an updated EPC should be provided to ensure accuracy. It should be borne in mind that EPCs are valid for 10 years.
- A Property Manager’s role should include the production of a forward maintenance plan, so that any future interventions in terms of refurbishments or plant replacements can be planned and expenditure smoothed out over time. The assessment of the MEES strategy should take this into account, so that the opportunity is taken to improve the EPC rating at the right time.
- Also, there is a need to build into any MEES strategy the lease date renewals, the type of lease in place, and whether any leases will require updating to reduce the risk. Although this would normally be managed by an Asset Manager responsible for the leasing aspect, there will be support required from the Property Manager.
- As there are a number of exemptions with the MEES regulations, the Property Manager will need to feed into the management team to determine if an exemption will apply, and if so, register the exemption on the Government system.
- When a new EPC is procured, it should be checked to ensure the details are correct, and reflect the unit or property in question, and avoiding the use of default information.
- If the EPC is at risk, for instance if it is rated E, F or G, then proposals should be obtained to improve the rating. An E rated EPC is included as at risk, as any future ratcheting up off standards is likely to make D rating the minimum standard. These improvement proposals can then be included in any asset plans, or used to improve the property in readiness for letting.
- Once a property or unit has been let, there is a need to ensure close management of a tenant’s fit out works, to ensure the EPC rating is not adversely affected by these works. Usually for larger organisations a fit-out guide is produced which assists with this aspect, and includes advice around performance standards.
- An accurate EPC should be provided that reflects the fit out, if applicable, and this should be added to any EPC schedule for future management.
- Sales and acquisitions – the Property Manager will have a role here in supporting Asset and Investment managers in terms of ensuring the issues shown above are addressed.
Therefore, it can be seen from the above that the Property Manager has a vital role to play to support all of the property professionals in the property industry to ensure MEES compliance. As of April 2018, there will be a need for further awareness and training in this area, and more support required from specialists in the industry.
arbn estates is an extremely useful management tool to assist the Property Manager with MEES. As well as ensuring and checking for quality and accuracy issues, it has a user-friendly interface that can provide improvement options, costs and payback periods. It will assist with many of the challenges the introduction of MEES will bring, and help the Property Manager have an easier life!