In January 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (the MHCLG), confirmed the news that electrical checks would become mandatory in rental properties later in 2020.
Changes in regulations
The rental market has seen many changes in recent times, including the proposal to scrap Section 21 and abolishing tenancy fees. All these changes have been introduced to give renters greater protection and clamp down on irresponsible landlords.
The new legislation for electrical checks will require that a professional electrical engineer carries out an inspection of electrical installations, plus further inspections, every 5 years. For existing tenants, inspections are required from April 2021, but electrical inspections for new tenancies will be carried out from July 2020. These regulations will replace HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) regulations and will apply to all properties in the private rental sector, with the exception of lodger agreements where renters share a property with the landlord.
After the inspection
Landlords must ensure they are provided with a full written report after the inspection has been carried out, which should contain the test findings along with the date the next inspection will be required. In certain cases, electrical installations may need more frequent testing if recommended in the safety report. Within 28 days of the inspection, the landlord should provide a copy to the tenant. Should the report identify any issues or faults, the landlord must also investigate these issues further or order repairs within the period and supply confirmation to the tenants of the repairs or the further investigation being undertaken. The report should be retained by the landlord as this will need to be provided to the professional who undertakes the next required inspection as well as to future tenants.
It is vital that landlords are meticulous with record-keeping and compliance. There is software available to help landlords manage different aspects of their rental properties. For example, many landlords use a property inventory app such as that provided by https://inventorybase.co.uk/, which can produce property inventories, check-ins, check outs, inspections etc.
Of course, responsible landlords will already be carrying out these checks along with other relevant tests and procedures, but landlords should now ensure they are fully familiar with what is expected of them to ensure they comply legally.