Buy-to-let landlords need to be prepared for more regulations coming in, following the publication of a government consultation on electrical safety last week that recommends introducing five yearly mandatory electrical installation checks for private rented property, warns a senior lawyer specialising in housing.
Tim Miles, a partner with national firm Clarke Willmott LLP, believes that the consultation on electrical safety will have a significant impact on private landlords and the buy-to-let sector in England.
Following similar obligations in Scotland, the consultation proposes a fine of between £5,000 and £30,000 for failure to comply, which should provide a costly deterrent.
Although, unlike Scottish regulations, the consultation falls short of proposing checks on electrical appliances such as white goods supplied by landlords, it will still have a significant impact.
“Private landlords in England need to be prepared for increasing regulation and should not view the consultation as a stand-alone act, but as part of a wider package of action,” said Miles.
Additionally, buy-to-let landlords also need to be aware that in line with existing gas safety requirements, the consultation proposes preventing landlords from being able to evict tenants under a Section 21 notice unless they have provided the tenant a copy of electrical installation safety documentation.
Miles continued: “Another consultation has been released in the same week proposing that private landlords will be required to sign up to a new private housing ombudsmen and the government’s support for The Homes (Fitness of Human Habitation) Bill.
“These consultations are part of the government’s clear intent to protect tenants post-Grenfall.
“Additionally landlords need to be aware that the five year mandatory suggestion is only a suggestion and there is the potential that [dependent on the views of respondents] the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government may, on reflection, view that annual electrical safety checks may be more appropriate. Accordingly it is imperative that all interested parties respond to the consultation to ensure that a wide range of views are considered.”
You can respond to the consultation until 16th April 2018 by clicking here.