The introduction of new electrical safety regulations raises the prospect of high-risk rental properties not being covered by a legally binding requirement for landlords to carry out regular checks.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is concerned that the changes due to come into force on 1st June 2020 will affect the standards of some rental properties. They will immediately remove the obligation for landlords to carry out electrical safety checks in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). This obligation will only apply to a renewed tenancy, to begin with, and then for all others as of April 2021.
This will leave some rental properties under no legally binding electrical safety regime for the interim period, leaving tenants without the assurance that properties are safe.
The new plans have been presented to Parliament for agreement. They contain weaker penalties for landlords failing to keep the properties they rent safe. They could also complicate the process by which local authorities can issue penalties, making them more difficult to enforce.
The RLA has now written to the Ministry of Housing to express its concerns about the loophole being created for irresponsible landlords who otherwise would not carry out these checks. The association is calling on the Government to delay the implementation of the new framework to provide time to address the problems being called.
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Good landlords don’t need to be told to carry out safety checks but these changes to regulations leave tenants vulnerable to those landlords who are not so responsible. It is essential for the safety of tenants that the loophole being created is closed and we urge the Government to delay implementation until that happens.”