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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Mandatory electrical safety regulations to be introduced in England

The government plans to introduce mandatory electrical installation inspecting for all rented homes. 

Detailed regulations for enforcing compulsory five-year electrical safety checks in the private rented sector from July this year have been put forward and are now subject to parliamentary approval. 

The draft regulations propose that, from 1 July 2020, all new private tenancies in England will need to ensure that electrical installations are inspected and tested by a qualified person prior to the start of a new tenancy. 

The landlord will then be required to ensure that the installation is inspected and tested at least every five years, and more regularly if the most recent safety report requires it.

For existing tenancies, an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021, with regular tests in accordance with the new regulations, which will apply to all properties across the PRS. 

A breach of the regulations could see landlords fined up to £30,000. 

David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, commented: “We are supportive of this concept and believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants. 

“Mandating electrical testing should have a limited impact on good professional landlords and agents in the market, many of whom already voluntarily undertake these inspections. 

“We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline but have received assurances from MHCLG about capacity in the supply chain.”

Poll: Would you welcome mandating electrical testing in the PRS?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

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    As a letting agent we welcome these long overdue regulations. It will benefit all parties.

  • John Cart

    “We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline but have received assurances from MHCLG about capacity in the supply chain.”

    Yes, well they would say that, wouldn't they. I have three electricians that I use, one isn't going to do this work at all because he doesn't want to. One will fit them in around his usual contracting, so may be a couple a week. The final one said he'll set aside a day a week if the work pays for itself, which he doubts and in any event "nothing but testing is just boring"

    I can foresee the timescales for complying with this regulation not being met by thousands of Landlords.

  • Matthew Payne

    Capacity? Where? I have a fantastic relationship with 2 local sparkys locally that I use, but they are constantly booked up at least 6 weeks in advance unless it's an emergency, sometimes longer. I havent even asked them yet whether this is something they plan to do either, many trades stick to what they know, or what gives them the best return.

    There is absolutely no chance whatsoever that deadline will be hit and it may well be a year or so after before we get anywhere near. There are 2.7m properties that need checking and the clock hasnt even started ticking yet. With Brexit, it will probably be a few weeks yet before it become statute, so let's say a year to get 54,000 properties a week tested.....

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    I got myself my own electrical and PAT certificates. Councils bought in part P so I am no better off. if I paid £300 a year or whatever to to convince some admin desk pilot that I am a competent person. Paying that money is more important than having that certificate.

    Most of the electrical problems that I see in my properties are very minor or "tenant caused". These could easily be spotted by letting agent inspections but they never are. This is infuriating because a lack of simple observation turns into at least a £100 bill every time.

    What do I think about doing these inspections myself? Its too boring and not cost effective due to travel/time costs. The chances of finding a fault are vanishingly small.

    There are two aspects to electrical safety. One is finding the problems and the other is fixing them. These two tasks don't need the same person but the current legislation is forcing the opposite and turning a simple inspection into a needlessly high cost which tenants will have to pay.

    In fact a PAT tester should be able to check safety of installations. Electrical regulations (last time I looked) provide for sensible people to look at electrical equipment and decide if it was safe or not. Estate/letting agent property inspections could easily fulfil that role.

  • icon

    A good idea. Let those of us who are good landlords force out the Rachmans of letting. What of course is lacking is proper inspection and enforcement by I presume Councils. Who are generally pretty hopeless at whatever they do. Other than ticking boxes and taking sickies !

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    your post makes no sense

     
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    An expensive venture. Most Electricians issue three year certificate and charge more than £150 in addition to any work that may be needEd to complete the inspection and issue the certificate

  • Mo McGonnell

    As an NICEIC approved contractor and a landlord, I would say about time. Not a week goes by without me seeing a dangerous electrical property. I find it amazing that someone would say that £150 is expensive when a properly tested property can save thousands. If you go to the dentist for a check up, taking less than 10 minutes its £40 and you think nothing of it. There are over a quarter of a million electrical accidents most involving fire every year, something has to be done.

    Matthew Payne

    Completely agree Mo, and I am not sure why it has taken so long when gas was done over 25 years ago. As usual though it appears it is going to be yet another poorly executed piece of legislation by a government who are completely detached from everyday life. I hope they do not plan to levy fines during 2021 and their deadline is simply designed to focus everyone's efforts. On the basis their agencies are still failing to properly police every other piece of legislation that has been passed in recent memory, I doubt they have the capacity or appetite anyway.

     
  • icon

    So why are rental properties being subjected to further costs that are deemed essential but owner occupied properties are not?

    Matthew Payne

    I posted this on MEES, the other day which answers your Q.

    "1.5 million landlords in the PRS are difficult to manage, diffcult to track, many they believe are non compliant and avoiding tax. At the same time many institutional landlords are getting heavily involved in the BTR sector at the request of HMG, but in return they want the competition from the PRS reduced. This suits HMG for the reasons above. 15 big institutional landlords on speedial are easier to manage than 1.5million, most of whom are unknown. Ergo they are turning the screw to make private LLs sell up, it will turn tighter yet. Solves another problem of the "housing crisis". The market floods with former BTL properties. Prices will come down and there will be lots of availability and choice for people trying to get on the housing ladder. Win Win Win for HMG. Less headache, more tax, housing crisis aleviated."

     
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    Housing crisis? What crisis? The government are mistaken if they think prices will come down. Fewer rental properties will mean higher rents and forcing landlords to sell up will only create misery for the millions of tenants who cannot and will never be in a position to buy a house! That will cause a housing crisis!

     
  • icon

    does it apply to rsl sector?

    Matthew Payne

    It appears will apply to all rented residential property. We dont have any detail on other exemptions yet. New build or recently certified fully rewired proerties will be exempt for the first 5 years.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    Will these checks apply to live-in LL who have lodgers?
    It is a fact that very few properties could comply with 18th regulations.
    Ensuring compliance would generally require very expensive rewires.
    For many LL this will be simply uneconomic and they would be best off getting rid of such properties.
    Combined with MEES requirements it makes little financial sense to retain what will rapidly become dud properties.
    Sell these duds to all those alleged FTB who won't be subject to any of these requirements.

    Matthew Payne

    Hi Paul, I have read the consultation report and its says "private rented sector residential properties" and later "privately rented homes", so it doesnt get into any detail. If I had to make an educated guess I would say they would need to be done in your scenario. The legislation is about tenant safety whether they rent a room, house, flat. Whether the LL lives there is irrelevant, they would still need protecting from sub standard wiring. We will have to wait and see.

     
  • icon

    Does anyone know if this legislation has been approved yet or if it's still 'planned' ?
    Thanks

    Matthew Payne

    Hi Tim, yes comes into effect 1st June, for new tenancies exectuted from July 1st, existing tenancies next year. I had heard rumours a delay will be put into place for obvious reasons, but I havent seen anything to that effect yet, I guess not a huge priority for HMG at the moment, albeit they might have forgotten, they did forget to offer any guidance on people moving home until someone pointed it out to them. I cant see them enforcing it even if there is no official delay, they will struggle to issue penalties when they have told everyone to stay at home.

     
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