Thu 23 Jan 2020
Private landlords can be forgiven for thinking that they are suffering death by a thousand cuts. First there were changes in the tax regime, then proposals to abolish no fault Section 21 notice to quit and now, the last in a long line of increasing regulation, mandatory electrical installation inspection for all rented homes.
It is proposed that from 1st July 2020 all properties starting a new private tenancy in England will have to have had their electrical installations inspected and tested by a qualified person prior to the start of that tenancy.
For existing tenancies, an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021,
In both cases, the landlord will then be required to ensure that the installation is inspected and tested at least every five years, and more regularly if the most recent safety report requires it.
At first sight this seems yet another burden for the private landlord, who needs ever broader shoulders to take the load. However, there has always been an obligation for the landlord to ensure the electrical safety of any property which they let, but this has always been a rather vague duty, unlike the clear regulations covering regular gas safety checks. At least the new regulations will bring greater clarity to exactly what a landlord is required to do to ensure electrical safety, bringing it much more in line with the obligations landlords are used to meeting with regard to gas safety.
A professional managing agent can be key to easing the burden for landlords by ensuring correct compliance with the increasing complex of regulations and keeping track of what needs to be done when. It will be very important that a landlord can show a record of compliance with all requirements.
The silver lining for is that while the increasing burden of regulation and a less friendly tax regime may persuade some private landlords to leave the market, those staying the course will reap the benefit of higher rents resulting from the reduction in supply of properties for rent.