Following on from a blog that I wrote back in January about what electrical regulations your HMO needed to meet, next month sees a big change in the private rented sector come into force as Electrical Installation Condition Reports become mandatory for single let landlords. You can read this blog here.
Mandatory EICR inspections
Unlike an HMO where having an up to date EICR has been mandatory since 1st October 2018, this did not apply to single let properties. As of next month, however, this regulation changes with all new tenancies from 1st July 2020, and all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021 being required to have a satisfactory EICR.
This change means that all landlords must now ensure that their property’s electrics and wiring is inspected and tested every five years by a qualified, competent professional. Once completed and the landlord has been issued with a satisfactory EICR, a copy must be given to the tenant before the start of a new tenancy.
Where there is an existing tenancy in place, the tenant must be provided with a copy within 28 days of the inspection. I recommend getting receipt of a signed EICR signed by everyone named on the tenancy and a record kept should you need to refer to it.
For landlords with multiple properties, or to simply save time, the easiest way to obtain a signature is through an e-sign portal such as HelloSign where you can send up to three signature requests per month for free or E-Sign, where you can send just one document for £1.60.
With an existing tenancy where there are works needing to be carried out, this must be completed within 28 calendar days or the period specified on the report, if less than 28 days. There are big penalties for landlords who do not comply, with fines of up to £30,000 if a satisfactory report is not presented to the Local Authority within seven days of request.
Driving up standards
I personally think that this is a very positive change and I know that a lot of single let landlords are already carrying out five yearly electrical inspections as part of their compliance procedures.
With a quarter of households predicted to rent privately by 2021; up from just 10% in 1996/97, I do feel that this additional requirement will help drive up standards and mean that the proportion of responsible landlords will continue to increase.
There still a shocking proportion of sub-standard private rented housing and I feel very strongly that this must be eradicated. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on whether this is enough, or if regulations should go further to require a new test for every tenancy.
It will, however, be interesting to see how this new regulation will be policed. With the responsibility lying with Local Authorities who have an ever-decreasing budget, I very much doubt they will be able to carry out regular inspections. This is a genuine concern as, on the whole, it relies on honest, responsible landlords.
With 18,153 people in Medway living in private rented accommodation according to the 2011 census (up from just 9,335 in 2001 and on the same trend, I predict around 25,000 today) it will just not be possible for Local Authorities to monitor every property.
Perhaps the Local Authority will just act on an informant basis or where there is a property, they suspect may not be compliant. I have also read about a ‘property passport’ solution could be interesting.
Either way, not having your EICR in place first risks tenant safety and also a big penalty. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this new legislation and how it could be monitored. I would also be interested to find out whether you feel that PAT tests, which are mandatory for an HMO, should also be made mandatory for single let properties.
I hope that you have found this helpful and informative. As usual, I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have in relation to this or help in any other way you require. The best way to contact me is through LinkedIn.