If you rent your home, we think you should be able to do so without any worries.
Thankfully, major improvements will soon be made to electrical safety standards in England which will allow tenants (and landlords) to feel more assured.
From the 1st July this year, landlords and letting agents will be required by law to carry out electrical installation inspections and testing at the beginning of every new tenancy. For existing tenancies, the law will come into force from the 1st April 2021.
These changes to the law are subject to approval by the House of Commons and the House of Lords, but that is expected to be a formality in the coming weeks.
So, what does this actually mean for professional landlords and how will their tenants benefit?
The law as it stands – and how it will change
As the law currently stands, any electrical devices in a property must be safe for use when a tenant moves in.
At Garness Jones Residential, we recommend that our landlords carry out a voluntary Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) to ensure 100% compliance.
Landlords who let a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) must already abide by this law and ensure a qualified person inspects and tests every fixed electrical installation, at least every five years.
From July 2020, The new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will force landlords to conduct a thorough inspection on EVERY property they let, and again after at least five years.
For tenants, the biggest benefit is the peace of mind they’ll receive from knowing their home is not affected by any underlying electrical issues. Should a problem arise, the new legislation also increases the likelihood it will be fixed promptly.
The impact of compulsory electrical checks for rented properties
• The report must be provided to the local housing authority within 7 days, if requested.
• A copy of the last report must be supplied to any new tenant before occupation.
• Any prospective tenant must receive the report within 28 days of a request.
• Letting agents and landlords must fix any problems outlined by the inspection within 28 days.
• The Local Housing Authority will enforce rules and have power to arrange remedial action.
• Proven breaches could result in a fine of up to £30,000 – imposed by the Local Housing Authority.
Why compulsory electrical checks are a positive step
Whilst there has, quite rightly, been some concern from landlords about how these new regulations will be implemented, we believe the move is a win-win for everyone involved.
The property management team here at Garness Jones Residential fully support the concept because we feel it will drive up safety standards and improve tenants’ lives.
In our view, responsible professional landlords should not be too adversely affected by this mandatory inspection requirement – as most already voluntarily test every fixed electrical appliance or installation.
It could also help to pile more pressure on rogue landlords and reduce the number of unscrupulous letting agents who still operate across England.
As a member of ARLA Propertymark, the professional and regulatory body for letting agents, we currently operate to professional standards far higher than the law demands.
Having helped to shape the new Government rules at a recent Electrical Safety Working Group, we’re expecting ARLA to issue us with guidance that our landlords can follow very soon.
As always, we promise to keep both our landlords and tenants informed about any practical implications as soon as possible.
Should you wish to find out more – or if you’re a landlord searching for a new agent, please call 01482 564564 for an informal discussion.
By Matt Johnson, Residential Lettings Manager
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