The government has published long-awaited guidelines for the implementation of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in the private rental sector.

The hefty 95-page document has been distilled into a more user-friendly format by the Association of Residential Letting Agents – more details on this latest in the story.

The full guidance sets out who the new MEES rules (which start coming into force next April) apply to – these are broadly, all assured shorthold tenancies, regulated tenancies and domestic agricultural tenancies.

The guidelines also set out exceptions – again, broadly, social housing, protected buildings, places of worship, temporary buildings, and furnished holiday accommodation where the holiday maker is not responsible for paying the energy bills.

The key milestones for agents and landlords to be aware of start on April 1 2018, from which time agents and landlords of relevant domestic private rented properties may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property).

The next key milestone is April 1 2020, from which time agents and landlords must not continue letting a relevant domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid EPC).

The guidelines suggest that the driving motive for the MEES initiative is, predictably, to reduce energy costs for tenants especially in older homes, to reduce greenhouse emissions, to improve the condition of properties and help reduce maintenance costs, and to smooth seasonal peaks in energy demand, bringing increased energy security.

The government also says agents and landlords should benefit too from increased tenant satisfaction, fewer void periods, less regular maintenance, making properties more attractive to prospective tenants, and increased resale value.

The guidelines are split into six chapters – how the regulations apply to domestic property, the minimum standards and funding behind them, technical advice, exclusions and exemptions, the exemption register, and enforcement and penalties.