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Wolseley, the leading trade specialist, today warned that UK commercial property landlords face a race against time to comply with new heating emissions regulations that take effect this spring.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), first implemented in 2018, mandate that landlords granting a new lease for commercial premises must hold an energy performance certificate (EPC) with a rating of E or above.

Commercial properties with an EPC rating of F or G are considered sub-standard, and a deadline of 1 April this year has been set for landlords to make all possible cost-effective energy efficiency improvements or be ruled unlawful. Fines for non-compliance range between 10 and 20 per cent of the rentable value of each property, and can rise to £150,000, while landlords will also be blocked from offering new leases.

Yet according to Wolseley, few commercial landlords are aware of the significance of the April deadline and are running out of time to undertake the requisite remedial work to reduce heating emissions, as well as then having performance certificates issued.

The MEES are part of the Government’s overall drive to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. They apply to all commercial buildings let under an assured tenancy, regulated tenancy or domestic agricultural tenancy, including offices, warehouses, shops and farm buildings.

John Hancock, Chief Operating Officer, Wolseley, said: “We hear time and time again that this deadline has caught landlords on the hop and many commercial buildings affected will not be legally fit to rent come April. These new standards have been on the horizon for several years, but the extreme disruption caused by COVID-19 and shifts in the commercial property sector have been a huge distraction, and landlords now face a scramble to upgrade premises and get certified.”