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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Another New Rental Law: mandatory electric checks this year

It looks almost certain that agents and landlords must ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from July 1 this year, or from April 1 2021 for existing tenancies.

The government says The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 have been laid before Parliament.

These are likely to be agreed by the Commons and the Lords in the coming weeks.

An analysis by ARLA says this means agents and landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person. 

The regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due. 

ARLA says that upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within seven days, and a private landlord must supply a copy of the last report to any new tenant before occupation, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from that prospective tenant.

Breaches of the regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

The Association of Residential Lettings Agents backs the move with chief executive David Cox saying: We are supportive of this concept and believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants.

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

“We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline but have received assurances from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government about capacity in the supply chain.”

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    We've been doing this for years now, it was only a matter of time and was obvious to anyone in the business.

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    As an electrician of 20 years, though I agree that mandatory checks were required, I don't hold out any hope of this raising any standards. The standard of EICR's (Electrical installation Condition Reports) has been appallingly low for years. The nature of testing work is extremely technical, and traditionally it was only carried out by senior, experienced electricians. Since Part P that has been diluted, and along with the fact that landlords / agents won't be willing to pay the going rate for the necessary skill and expertise, the gap will be filled (in fact, is already filled) with incompetents and shysters. A tenanted 3 bed house would take a full day to test if done properly (yes that's a full day, despite what a previous 'electrician' or agent has told you) and I personally wouldn't do one for less than £200 (and that would have to be untenanted and empty). Unfortunately, we'll be seeing them done for 50 or 60 quid as decent electricians are priced out, and the rest race to the bottom like idiots to get the work. Landlords won't care because they'll have a piece of paper that's more fabricated than Alice In Wonderland, agents won't care becuase they'll have their commision, and tenants will get the same low standards they've always had when it comes to electrics in the PRS.

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    Morning all, I follow LAT regularly. As a landlord for 41 years and a Scottish based letting agent owner who sold out last year, I am quite surprised at the new regulations that have been introduced in England, that we have had to comply with for many years.

    Given the number of properties we managed we negotiated c.£150 for the Electrical checks which had to be carriers out by Select or NICEIC contractors.

    These were around 8 pages

    *There is no question landlords do complain but I do feel this is one which should be in place

    The only question mark we came up against was some electricians said these needed to be done 1) after every tenancy 2) every year or 3) however long he deemed it should be retested depending on the condition..which I think is reasonable

    Their point was, damage could be done during the 5 years by a tenant, which will go unnoticed.

    Landlords were never agreeing to pay this often

    Yes..another day in the life of an agent/landlord and another regulation to add to the “50 Shades Of Grey Book”!

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    The inconsistency you've seen is indicative of an issue in the electrical industry that is causing standards to slip, that being that electrical testing and inspecting is specialist. Not just any electrician can do it and traditionally it has always been senior and supervisory electricians who carry it out. Now we have lads with 4 or 5 years experience leaving their firms as soon as their apprenticeships are finished and going it alone, or worse, career changers who've done a 6 week course. They are not experienced or knowledgeable enough to carry out testing and interpret the results. No amount of training will get around the issue, it's a matter of experience and you can't short cut your way to it.

    For the record, the length between tests has always been a recommendation at the discretion of the electrician carrying out the work. It is based on the current condition of the installation and how long he feels would be appropriate. However, in tenanted domestic properties the IEE have always recommended a test on the change of tenancy. It's their recommendation, none of it has ever been mandatory until now.

    Anyone telling you every year is someone to be avoided. They are lying or incompetent (or both).

     
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    28 says for work to be completed?

    It's not about there being enough electricians.
    If a rewire is required then the woks involved would need a tenant to vacate.
    What if u get uncooperative tenants.
    I would not want a rewire done and remain in the house.
    There's health and safety to consider.
    Floor boards up small children pets
    Dust created.
    Tenants would need to be served notice to enable large works.
    These properties will likely be the ones where the tenants have been there 10years plus.
    If S21 is removed how are landlords to evict.
    Certs say done two years ago will they be valid.
    Will consumer unit need upgrading if certain areas need to be rewired
    A complete can of worms
    4year phase in time is needed.

    S l
    • S l
    • 20 January 2020 21:54 PM

    All niceic or storma electrical certificate last 5 and another said storma can last 7 years according to the electrician that i spoke to.

     
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    Hi Kathy,
    Sorry i am new to this discussion and web-site, but from what i can see as an NICEIC Approved electrical contractor with the new regulations that look like they will be coming into force, is that the 28 days is for the electrical report to be issued to the tenant after the testing has been carried out. It is also very rare that a full rewire would be required unless the electrical installation was in a very dangerous condition, and in which case i would expect the tenant and landlord would support this as we all know electricity can be highly dangerous. Electrical Installation Condition reports (EICR) are valid for 5 years, so the answer to your question on a report completed 2 years ago would be yes they are still valid.
    A consumer unit does not always need to be upgraded on a partial rewire or even the addition of a new circuit or alteration providing the existing consumer unit has the capacity to take the new circuits and can provide the protection required (RCD protection for example), and also providing the MCB's/RCD's required are still available.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    LL with older type properties without latest electrics would be best off selling them to mug FTB.
    Most of these properties will need extensive EPC works as well.
    It will take decades for many LL to get payback on all the required works.
    Better to just get rid of them to homebuyers who aren't subject to any of this legislation.
    They will tend as a matter of course to carry out improvement works but these will be done while they still occupying.
    Something that few tenants would accept.
    LL need to seriously review the status of their properties to ascertain the viability of making them EPC C status with 18th edition electrics.
    If not then best to get rid of those properties.

  • Paul Barrett

    I believe there should be Govt grants to enable every property in the UK to meet 18th regulations.
    If not LL will offload these dud properties to other buyers most of whom won't be LL leaving even fewer rental properties available.
    Actually when you think about it the EPC and now these 18th electrical regs could be more effective than S24 in forcing LL to sell up the newly dud properties.
    Perhaps Govt isn't being so stupid in that it is prepared to use any means fair or foul to force small LL to sell up.
    I'm not too sure that Govt is too bothered about how it gets rid of small mortgaged LL.
    But just think on the cost of a rewire to 18th regs is about £3000 and that doesn't include all the domestic upheaval!!!
    As a very cynical LL I do believe that this latest Govt missive is just part of it's strategy to eradicate small LL!

  • Phil Priest

    Having been witness to so many stories about the dangers in which some tenants are forced to live in, I am a fan of the proposed electrical testing regulations. However, as with all regulation, it is being rushed through with no real thought on the impact and delivery of the testing by competent qualified engineers.

    I firstly believe HMO's should all be licensed and a crack down on those first, then 2 years later look at rolling this out across the LL landscape as a general rule. In addition, any AirBnB is still not covered by any regulation, so more LL's will go into this market instead as its unregulated and we lose even more stock to the private rented market which is diminishing at a rapid rate.

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