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Document all activity for electrical checks

Friday 29 January 2021

With no extension to the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 forthcoming from the UK Government, Propertymark is urging its members to document all activity relating to arranging, planning and scheduled work relating to compliance with electrical checks.

The Regulations came into force on 1 June 2020 and apply in England to all new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. All landlords should make every effort to abide by the rules provided that this can be done inline with guidance on working in people’s homes during Coronavirus. 

Enforcement

In a response to a letter sent to the Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, the Minister of State for Housing has outlined that local authorities have been advised to take a pragmatic and common-sense approach to enforcement of the electrical safety regulations, and other standards in the private rented sector (PRS). Furthermore, a landlord will not be in breach of the duty to comply with a remedial notice if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply. 

Many agents are doing this anyway, but with no indication from the UK Government that they will extend the deadline for all tenancies to comply with the rules, this reiterates the importance of agents ensuring they have detailed paper-trails and document everything from phone calls, refused access, planned checks and scheduled remedial work.

This is echoed in the UK Government’s guidance that was updated on 8 January 2021 which says, “a landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had.” Additionally, “landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation, appliance or flue is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works.”

Propertymark campaigning

Importantly, officials within the UK Government remain in close communication with the electrical safety industry and Propertymark will continue to highlight the concerns of its members so decision-makers understand the practical implications of legislation and the impact of COVID-19.

Propertymark initially pushed for a delay to the implementation of the Regulations last year and subsequently raised the issue of agents having difficulty with complying with checks with MPs on the Housing Committee in November 2020 as part of their inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on the PRS. Propertymark has also raised the matter with UK Government officials, the Shadow Housing Minister and wrote to the Housing Minister in December.

Members with ongoing concerns about the deadline should contact their local MP to make them aware of how COVID-19 is impacting their business. You can find and contact your local MP here.