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Mandatory Electrical Checks for Landlords: What you need to know

The government’s planned legislation to bring in mandatory electrical installation checks and inspections for rental properties are now more than just a suggestion. The regulations have been officially set out and deadlines are in place, so landlords have no excuse when it comes to ensuring their properties are professionally checked.

The regulations put in place that from, July 1st 2020, all new private tenancies in England must have all electrical installations inspected and tested by qualified persons before a new tenancy begins. The regulation further covers existing tenancies, but landlords have until April 1st 2021 to carry out the required inspections and testing.

The new and more stringent legislation should stand to protect private tenants and ensure that rental properties are fit for purpose and safe, at least in terms of their electricity supply and wiring.

Breaches and Penalties could reach up to £30,000

The fixed electrical installation at all rental properties must be inspected and tested once every five years to ensure it is in safe working order. The new regulations also say that landlords must obtain and keep a report of the results of the inspection and testing and provide it to their tenants within 28 days of it taking place. Landlords must also ensure they keep hold of their own copy until the next inspection is due. The local housing authority is also allowed to request a copy of the report at any time and this should be provided within seven days. The local housing authority is responsible for enforcing the new rules and they can also take remedial action where necessary.

If a landlord doesn’t carry out the testing or doesn’t act upon requests made before putting tenants in place, then financial penalties can be imposed. Penalties of up to £30,000 are possible dependent on the extent of the breach. There are many considerations which impact whether a breach can be proven. For example, if a tenant refuses to allow their landlord access to make repairs and handle maintenance issues, the landlord will not be deemed to have breached the regulations. In some instances, the local authority will step in and help with the changes and repairs needed but this may depend on the urgency of the situation.

Protection for Landlords and Tenants

The new regulations may seem to veer in the direction of protecting just tenants, but they also provide landlords with a much-needed reason to ensure the quality and safety of their housing stock. It is very easy to let maintenance slide, but this can result in serious health hazards and the risk of fire. This new legislation helps improve everything for all involves. Electrical installation improvements benefit landlords as they help to prevent fires and minimise the risk of significant or irreparable damage to their property.

Creating better homes and a higher quality range of rental stock is only going to improve the market. Landlords will see higher demand for properties kept in a better state of repair and the risks associated with a private rental will decrease, making it a more attractive option for people looking for a new home.