Compulsory Electrical Checks for Buy to Let Landlords

Steve Clarke, Rogers and Norton

More changes are on the way for anyone with a residential buy to let property, whether it is a single property or a substantial portfolio. The draft Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (Electrical Safety Regulations) were laid before Parliament in January 2020, with the Government expecting it to become law on 1st April 2020. The regulations will only relate to England, with new tenancies having to be checked at the beginning of the tenancy and then every five years. For existing tenancies, the properties will have to be checked by 1st April 2021 and then every five years.

Where they apply, the Electrical Safety Regulations will require private landlords to ensure the electrical safety standards in the 2018 edition of the IET wiring regulations (BS7671:2018) are met, whenever those premises are let under a tenancy. There will be a further duty on landlords to ensure that a qualified person inspects every fixed electrical installation at least every five years and issues a report.

As with gas appliances, a copy of the electrical safety report produced following the inspection will have to be supplied to the property’s tenants within 28 days of the inspection. If remedial work is required, the landlord must carry it out within 28 days (or sooner, if indicated by the report).

As drafted, the Electrical Safety Regulations will apply to any tenancy of residential premises that grants one or more persons the right to occupy all or part of the premises as their only or main residence and which provides for payment of rent. Certain tenancies are, however, excluded from the regulations, these include those granted by social or resident landlords; long leases or tenancies granting a right of occupation for a term of seven years or more; student lettings in halls of residence and tenancies granted to occupiers of hostels; refuges; care homes; hospitals or hospices.

Local authorities will be given powers to enforce the Electrical Safety Regulations, with different regimes applying to urgent and non-urgent remedial work. Local authorities will also have the power to impose civil penalties on private landlords for breach of their obligations, up to a maximum of £30,000.

The government had hoped to bring in the new regulations earlier but was persuaded that landlords and letting agents should be given time to cope with the avalanche of other regulations in the pipeline.

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

Our residential Property team work closely with a wide variety of Buy to Let investors, whether they are looking at buying their first property, are intent on building a portfolio for the future, or are managing established investments. Rogers & Norton have wide experience, knowledge & understanding of the Buy to Let Market meaning it can support landlords through the regulations involved with the dealing with all aspects of your transactions.

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