In the last couple of years Government Budgets and Annual Statements have introduced a series of legislation changes and issues that will affect our Landlord customers. We feel that there are several matters that will come into force in the next 12 to 24 months that we need you to be made aware of and this series of short emails are designed to make sure you a fully aware of how the industry and you as property owners will be affected.
Renters will receive better protection thanks to new measures designed to ensure mandatory electrical inspections are carried out by competent and qualified inspectors, Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP. As part of the government’s commitment to drive up standards in the private rented sector, landlords will be legally required to ensure that the inspectors they hire to carry out safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so – with tough financial penalties for those who fail to comply.
Ministers will also publish new guidance which sets out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out these important inspections, meaning both landlords and tenants can be assured their home is safe from electrical faults.
Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler MP said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home. While measures are already in place to crack down on the small minority of landlords who rent out unsafe properties, we need to do more to protect tenants. These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes. It will also provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks.”
The new guidance will provide clear accountability at each stage of the inspection process – of what is required and whose responsibility it is – but without placing excessive cost and time burdens on landlords. As well as making homes safer for tenants, improving electrical safety also benefits landlords by making a material improvement to their property and helping to prevent fires, which can cause costly and significant damage.
The measures announced last month build on ongoing government action to drive up standards in the private rented sector and support people to feel safe and secure in their home. Ministers have also introduced tough new powers for councils to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who rent out poor quality properties, including fines of up to £30,000 and banning orders for landlords who do not comply.
The consultation Electrical safety in the private rented sector ran from 17 February to 16 April 2018 and received 582 responses from a range of organisations, including landlord associations, housing charities and local authorities, as well as individuals including electricians, landlords, tenants and fire and rescue representatives. Following the consultation, the government announced in July that regulations would be introduced requiring private sector landlords to undertake 5 yearly safety checks of electrical installations in their properties. They are expected to introduce new legislation on a phased basis, starting with new tenancies, as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The new guidance will be broadly in line with existing regulations in Scotland, helping to ensure consistency and ease for landlords operating across the two nations.
A decision on penalties for non-compliance will be made before the secondary legislation is introduced. Penalties are likely to include a range of sanctions, with local authorities being given discretion to decide which is most appropriate in a particular case.
We Can Help
Private landlords, like yourself, play an important role in the rental market and it is important that we pay attention to the challenges they sometimes face. If any of the above has got you thinking, or if there were other unrelated questions you might have, then pop into our Charminster office or call us on 01202 565758 and we’d be pleased to help you to let and manage your properties.