Tim Miles, a Partner with national firm Clarke Willmott LLP, says the consultation on electrical safety will have a significant impact on private landlords and the buy to let sector in England.
The consultation proposes to compel private landlords to undertake mandatory electrical installation safety checks every five years, on all private rented properties within their portfolio.
Following similar obligations in Scotland, the consultation proposes a fine of between £5,000 and £30,000 for failure to comply, which should provide a costly deterrent. Although, unlike Scottish regulations, the consultation falls short of proposing checks on electrical appliances such as white goods supplied by landlords, it will still have a significant impact.
Additionally, landlords also need to be aware that in line with current gas safety requirements, the consultation proposes preventing landlords from being able to evict tenants under a Section 21 notice unless they have provided the tenant a copy of electrical installation safety documentation.
If approved, regulations from the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government are likely to follow later this year.
Tim said: “Private landlords in England need to be prepared for increasing regulation and should not view the consultation as a stand-alone act, but as part of a wider package of action.
Another consultation has been released in the same week proposing that private landlords will be required to sign up to a new private housing ombudsmen and the Government’s support for The Homes (Fitness of Human Habitation) Bill.
These consultations are part of the Government’s clear intent to protect tenants post-Grenfall.
Additionally landlords need to be aware that the five year mandatory suggestion is only a suggestion and there is the potential that (dependent on the views of respondents) the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government may, on reflection, view that annual electrical safety checks may be more appropriate. Accordingly it is imperative that all interested parties respond to the consultation to ensure that a wide range of views are considered.”