The arrival of mandatory enhanced electrical checks so soon after the chaos of the Coronavirus pandemic represents a perfect storm for agents and landlords, an industry supplier warns.
PropCert, a provider of property certificates, says that the surge of business in the lettings market this summer, around the same time the new electrical checks legislation is introduced, means transactions could be delayed unless property professionals have the necessary processes in place.
"It's pleasing to see the rental market bounce back so strongly post-lockdown. The next few months looks set be an extremely busy period for the rental market as tenants looking to move before lockdown make their move, while those who have decided they want to relocate in recent weeks also enter the market," says Tom Harrington, PropCert’s managing director..
But this busy market will shortly have to take account of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, coming into effect just next week on July 1.
The new regulations will require landlords to provide an EICR report before the start of all new tenancies. All fixed electrical installations must then be inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified professional.
Landlords or their agents will also be required to obtain a copy of the test report and supply it to all tenants within 28 days, while also retaining a copy for themselves until the next inspection is due.
From April 1 2021, the rules will be extended to cover all existing tenancies.
"Agents and landlords will now need to process more electrical checks than ever before and this means that the electricians they usually work with may not be able to keep up with demand" Harrington explains.
"If electricians are unable to meet demand and checks are not carried out, this backlog could lead to tenancies being delayed or falling through, which would be highly counter-productive as the market continues to recover from the effects of Covid-19” he cautions.
Harrington adds that the compliance obligations for granting a new tenancy are higher than ever before and the requirement for mandatory electrical safety checks will add to the workload of letting agents and landlords who are still dealing with the consequences of the pandemic.