New laws on electrical safety

New electrical safety rules for landlords of rented propertyLandlords of private rented property will soon need to ensure that the electrics in their properties are checked to ensure they are as safe as they ought to be, under new electrical safety rules. This naturally follows similar mandatory gas safety checks that have been in effect for years.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are already required to have a five yearly electrical installation check.

Changes were announced under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in July 2018 and, although the implementation date has not yet been set, it is only a matter of time as the legislation will be set as soon as ‘parliamentary time allows’.

Lettings agents and landlords will have six months or longer before the electrical safety legislation comes into force and there will be a two year transition period.

It is vital that landlords are fully aware of their compliance obligations and prepare for the changes in legislation.

Mandatory electrical installation safety checks will be required every five years for all private rented properties and tenants will receive a safety certificate that proves the checks and any repair work have been completed. Visual checks of electrical appliances will also be required on a change in tenancy.

Safety checks may be carried out under a new ‘electrical testing competent person’s scheme’ to ensure properly trained experts which would be separate from the existing ‘building regulations competent person’s scheme’.

The government argues that making homes safer for tenants benefit the landlord by providing material improvement to the property, in turn helping to prevent fires and resultant costly damage. Tenants in the private rental sector are statistically more likely to suffer electrical shock and fires from electrical faults in the homes.

Possible measures to punish rogue landlords and property agents include civil penalties of up to £30,000 as well as banning orders for the worst offenders.

If you’re buying a property to let out as a private landlord, make sure you have a building survey carried out by a RICS Chartered Surveyor. Property Surveying Chartered Surveyors are RICS regulated and will provide you with a report detailing the condition of your new property to help you safeguard your investment.

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