Electrical compliance for landlords is coming. As anyone within the industry will confirm, there is no such thing as a typical day in the life of a professional involved with property lettings and management. No two properties are the same, no two clients have the same expectations, and no two tenants communicate in the same way.
There are, however, challenges that remain the same whatever the property, tenant or client and chief among these are seemingly ever-changing regulatory requirements and the need to both meet them and evidence that this has been done.
The change that is foremost in letting agents’ and property managers’ minds at the moment is probably the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. This came into force on the 1st June, 2020 and applied to new tenancies one month after that. However, existing tenancies did not have to comply until 1st April, 2021 and that deadline is now very close.
Requirements of the new regulations
The new regulations implement an ongoing duty for landlords in England to ensure that their properties are maintained to the required electrical safety standards. The regulations also require that evidence of this is certified and kept.
Essentially, this means that properties must meet requirements of the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations. This would usually mean that a qualified person would conduct a property inspection and test. They would then issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which must be retained. A copy of the report must be given to the tenant and copies must also be supplied on request under given circumstances.
In practice the administration of these new requirements is likely to fall upon Letting Agents, Property Managers and Inventory Clerks. If this is managed manually it can be difficult to track properly. Using efficient property management software can help to ensure and evidence compliance.
Which tenancies are covered by the new regulations?
Tenancies that must comply with the new regulations include:
– Houses of multiple occupation, (HMOs)
– Shorthold tenancies
– Licences to occupy
How to make electrical compliance tasks manageable
At the heart of compliance with any regulatory requirement, new or otherwise, is an efficient process. Manual records, once common within the property sector, are fast being replaced by digital record capturing and maintenance in the form of property management software and property inventory software.
This helps to ensure compliance with not only property sector specific regulations, but also other mandatory regulations such as GDPR.
A system such as InventoryBase offers easy accessibility, including via a convenient letting inventory app which allows access while on the move. Crucially, its integration with other systems and calendars allows synchronisation across systems, while minimising duplication, increasing security and providing reporting to specified recipients.
Using property inventory software can give letting agent and property management professionals peace of mind. It also streamlines communications with both clients and tenants.
Are you ready for April?
As you would expect, there are penalties for non-compliance with the new regulations. They are not for the faint-hearted and include the imposition of large fines of up to £30,000 and even the possibility of prison sentences.
The deadline is fast approaching, and individuals qualified to conduct property inspections and issue the required EICR will have limited availability the closer to the deadline we get. It should also be remembered that the requirement is not only to have the inspection and report completed, but that any further investigations or remedial work identified must also be completed within at least 28 days.
It has never been more important for lettings and property inventory professionals to be sure that their records management is efficient and reliable.