This is a blog that we write with somewhat mixed emotions, as the Government announce even more regulations on the private rental sector. Doesn't it feel like we are saying that a lot lately?
The reason we have mixed emotions is because the new regulations about to be announced, we actually agree with, but we also emphasize with our landlords that it does seem that the lettings business is being battered with one regulation after another, so our disappointment comes mainly from the timing of this announcement.
So what is the announcement?
Well, the Government has just released that, from July 1st 2020, all NEW private tenancies, and that is new tenancies initially in England, will need to ensure their electrical installations have been inspected and tested by a qualified person before the tenancy begins.
Gas safety certificates have been common place and mandatory for many years now, but electrical testing was just an advisement, unfortunately an advisement that many landlords decided not to follow up on, so the Government have seen fit, and in our view quite rightly so, that the testing of the electrics should be compulsory.
The announcement goes on to say that once a tenant is in the property, this installation will need to be tested every five years and a further legislation says as of 1st of April 2021 that all existing tenancies will also need to be carried out.
Now, so far this legislation requires both approval from the House of Commons and the House of Lords, but we have no reason to believe that this won't pass, and due to the time constraints we are urging all landlords to act now.
We have been working very closely with local electricians to agree a timetable and cost of this new legislation and like us although they totally understand the need for mandatory testing too, their concern is the timescale left in order to ensure that all landlords are compliant with their tenants.
April, of 2021, may seem like a fairly long time away but when you take into account the no. of electricians versus the no. of properties, in the private rental sector, even starting now is a huge hill to climb to get everyone compliant by the date and our concern is if landlords leave it until the last minute, they will find themselves unable to find an electrician without a full diary to get the work done on time.
We are yet to see what the full legislation will be, what will happen, what fines there will be and what consequences there will be for the landlords if they are not compliant.
So again we urge everyone to act now.
One of the other concerns is that the electricians have brought forward to us, and it is a valid point, is that regulations change all the time and if these properties haven't been tested within the last few years, then the chances are they wont meet the most up to date standards, regardless of whether they are safe, so we are expecting a high percentage of properties to fail.
So, not only do the electricians have the extra work of testing hundreds and hundreds of properties, they also have the added time constraints of then carrying out any remedial work to ensure the properties get their certification.
As we say we think this is very welcome legislation, apart from the timing.
The safety of any tenant in a property should be paramount to both the landlords, and the letting agent, and we have never really understood why electrical testing hadn't been made mandatory many years ago. Dodgy electrics are easily as dangerous as faulty gas supply, but we do wish there had been more warning and further time given to ensure all of you are covered and safe.
Over the next few weeks we are working with local firms who are also looking to employ further electricians to deal with the demand and we will be contacting each of our landlords directly urging them to get this work done asap. If you have any questions always contact me on 01268 514777 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org , i am more than happy to answer any questions and will bring you more information as and when the government sees fit to keep us informed.