Electric Shock Treatment for Landlords…

Electricians are going to very busy in the next 11 months as they will have to test the electrics of every private rented property in Derby and Burton and potentially may have to install new fuse boards and wiring in some instances.

New regulations set out in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 gave the Secretary of State of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government the authority to compel private landlords to test their fixed electrical systems.

New and Renewed Tenancies

Currently, these responsibilities only apply to licensable Houses of Multiple Occupancy where a house is split into individual rooms, yet these new rules will come into force for any NEW tenancy or RENEWAL of any private rented home from the 1st July this year. This basically means that all new tenancies from the 1st July 2020 will need to have had their electrics tested.

The new IET electrical regulations enforce a duty on all private landlords to ensure that their electrical installation complies with the 18th edition (from 2018) of the IET wiring regulations.

Therefore, any property built before the middle of 2018 will have electrics to 17th edition regulations or possibly a previous edition.  It might not sound a lot, but the 18th edition regulations were a substantial update over the 17th edition which were published in 2008.  Now, just because a rental property was built with its electrics up to the prevailing 15th, 16th or 17th regulations at the time of building, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will automatically fail this test.

Qualified Electrician

A qualified electrician will need to test your rental property against the new 18th Regulations as that is standard practice in the industry, which will cost anything from £150 plus VAT for a one bed flat through to £350 plus VAT for a large 4 or 5 bed house – these are estimates.  The Electrician won’t fail a property that complies with a previous regulation (e.g. 16th or 17th) unless there is a good reason to do so.  No doubt there will be further clarification notes issued before the implementation date to sort this out – and I will keep you informed in this blog.

Electricians are telling me that any property built after 16th Regulations came into force in 1991 and they deem it to have failed the test, will probably require a new fuse board and other minor works at an average cost of around £355 per property, although it could be as low as £300 and up to £500 per property to upgrade, meaning…

The potential cost of upgrading every Derby buy to let Home to 18th edition regulations (if they all failed) could total £6,213,920!

Some Derby landlords might think they can circumnavigate the regulations by renewing the fixed term every 6 months, yet the Government have  protected against that by stating,  irrespective of what tenancy is in place, all rental properties by the 1st April 2021 must have been tested against the 18th Regulations standard.

Can Supply meet Demand?

My concern is that the 18000 or so rental properties in Derby will need their electrics testing before the Spring of 2021 and that there are only around 60 qualified electrician firms (based on a simple internet search) within a 2-mile radius of Derby to do all these tests and work.

Landlords must give any new tenant a copy of the inspection report before they start the tenancy.  Also, landlords must give a copy of the report to any prospective tenant who asks for it in writing within 28 days of a request during the tenancy itself.  In practicable terms, from the 1st April 2020, this means that the Electrical Report will need to be ready and work done when the property is placed onto the market for rent.

The Consequences

The local authorities are tasked with policing this – and they too have the right to request to see copies of any Electrical Report and works done. They can force a landlord to comply with the legislation and also may issue a civil penalty up to a maximum of £30,000.

Remarkably, if the letting/managing agent doesn’t organise the Electrical reports, there is nothing in the legislation which allows a landlord to pass the blame onto their letting/managing agent.  That means landlords could be at significant risk from dishonest or badly organised letting agents who won’t/don’t sort the electrics out, so my advice to all landlords is to speak to your letting/managing agent right now and plan ahead.

Rest assured, we have had plans well in hand for our Derby landlords since last year, because I knew this legislation was on its way, and due to the number of properties we deal with, we have agreed a cost of £150.00 plus VAT for almost all of our properties under management.

The regulations are obviously important for the safety of tenants and, in essence, these new laws and regulations will mean new accountabilities for the private rented landlords with not much time in which to get prepared and be compliant.

If you are worried about these new rules or don’t have ultimate confidence in your current agent, then please do pick up the phone and let’s have an informal chat about how we can help you with this issue, you don’t want to fall the wrong side of the law do you?

Please call us on 01332 300196 to speak to a member of our Property Management Team