Lettings agents ask for more time to comply with new electrical safety rules

ARLA Propertymark says lack of electricians, Covid and backlog of work needed makes 1st April 2021 target impossible to hit.

safety-checks electrical safety

Landlords and letting agents need an extra 12 months to comply with the new electrical safety standards due to become compulsory on April 1st next year, agents have claimed.

ARLA Propertymark policy director Timothy Douglas has written to Housing Minister Christopher Pincher to warn that both the challenges of accessing properties during the Covid pandemic, the deadlines and expense of ensuring properties are compliant and a shortage of qualified electricians will lead to an ‘anticipated and widespread failure in compliance’.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 became law on June 1st this year but agents and landlords were given until 1st April 2021 to comply.

The new regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is ‘qualified and competent’, at least every five years.

Landlords or letting agents have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.

Ensure compliance

Douglas says that although agents are grateful for the industry being exempted from the pandemic lockdowns, “concerns remain about the ability for letting agents to ensure compliance with the Electrical Safety Standards by April next year,” he says.

“From a snap survey of 220 letting agent businesses in September, 50% have more than 60 tenancies signed before the rules came into force that will require every fixed electrical installation at the property to be inspected and tested by April next year.

“Furthermore, it is not just the test and inspection but the time and expense of arranging remedial work to ensure tenancies are compliant. “This is exasperated further under the Regulations which require remedial work to be carried out within 28-days from when a  notice is service.”

In June the government withdrew it original guidance on its new electrical safety guidance after inconsistencies were identified.

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