New Safety Compliance Rules for Residential Landlords
From 1 April 2021, the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 apply to all (as well as new) private sector landlords in England. The Regulations require landlords to arrange inspections so as to ensure that the electrical installations of their properties are safe for tenants.
The Regulations now apply to existing tenancies such as assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy the residential premises (including houses in multiple occupation). The Regulations do not apply to social landlords.
What do the Regulations Require?
The Regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years. Landlords will then need to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenant within 28 days.
Testing will include the “fixed” electrical parts of the property such as the wiring, the plug sockets, light fittings and the fuse box.
Landlords and their managing agents should also note that a copy of the safety report should be provided to a new tenant before they move into the premises.
Who will Enforce the Regulations?
Enforcement will be carried out by local authorities. If the local authority has reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord is in breach of the Regulations, they will serve a remedial notice on the landlord. If the landlord does not comply with the notice, then the local authority can step in to arrange completion of the required works and recover the cost from the landlord.
Local authorities may also impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 (in the most serious instances) on landlords who are in breach of their duties. In the event of such a financial penalty being given, the landlord will need to serve a notice of intent upon the landlord. The landlord will then have the opportunity to contest the same and has a right of appeal within 28 days of the final notice to the First-tier Tribunal.
Butcher and Barlow LLP
Most landlords already take their obligations incredibly seriously and the Government has confirmed that these Regulations are aimed at a minority who do not already provide well maintained, safe, secure, and high-quality accommodation.
At Butcher & Barlow, our Property Dispute Resolution Team is regularly instructed by landlords to advise on compliance with their obligations as well as to bring possession claims where appropriate. We also build very strong relationships with managing agents to ensure efficient management of portfolios.