Electrical Safety in Rental Property
As we approach the student letting season and the start of the major job hunting period, August, September and October are traditionally busy times in the lettings industry. This year in particular, there are some important issues facing landlords, just over the horizon.
The Foxton’s Case highlights the importance of having terms in contracts that are fair and straightforward, particularly when dealing with consumers, as opposed to business to business.
This goes for landlords as well as agents under the “Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999”. Though the case could go to appeal, and non-business landlords seeking compensation may have to wait a while yet, the current decision which went against Foxtons, looks unlikely to change substantially.
Agents using hidden clauses tucked away in small print, and hidden additional charges, to both the landlord and tenant, should bear in mind that that sort of thing will eventually work against them.
Landlords and agents should be aware the OFT produce guidelines on unfair terms in tenancy agreements and that introducing unreasonable or obscure terms cannot over-ride statutory regulations—they will not stand up in court.
The Government’s response to the Rugg Review has some quite far-reaching proposals, some good, some not so good for landlords—it would seem.
In addition to a landlord’s national register, a register of all rental properties, and independent regulation of agents, there’s a suggestion of using the data-base to help rent-out landlords properties? If you want your views heard you can respond here by 6th August 2009.
Anna Walker, Chief Executive of the Healthcare Commission is leading an independent review of charging and metering for water and sewerage services. It seems that a suggestion from government QUANGO Ofwat is being considered which would involve making landlords responsible for their tenant’s unpaid water bills.
Comment and evidence requested by 28 August 2009. Respond here
Finally, on a brighter note, Exhibition organiser and publishers of Landlord Magazine, Accession, will be hosting the first national Landlord & Buy-to-Let Awards.
The Awards are free to enter and entries are invited into 16 categories from landlords, letting agents, local government and the landlord services sector. The Landlord & Buy-to-Let Awards aim to celebrate achievements in the sector and reward high standards. See the dedicated web site at: www.landlordawards.co.uk
Winners will be announced at a ceremony held at Birmingham NEC evening of Friday 16th October 2009.
Electrical Safety in Rental Property:
Electricity is everywhere, yet we are all guilty of taking it for granted and not treating it with the respect it deserves.
After all, over 30 people die and approximately 4,000 are injured because of accidents or fires caused by electricity every year.
Rented homes can be a higher risk environment when it comes to electricity due to a number of factors, including landlords’ confusion about where their responsibilities lie and how the myriad pieces of government legislation apply to them.
The task of the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by electricity and one of the charity’s major areas of campaigning in 2009 is to help make rented homes more electrically safe.
In this newsletter the ESC aims to clear up some of the confusion and offer guidance to landlords, so that people can see what they need to do and how they need to go about doing it.
Most landlords are probably aware that there is no legal requirement to supply an annual electrical safety certificate, as there is with gas. However, a landlord is required by law to ensure that:
- the electrical installation is safe when a tenancy begins
- the electrical installation is maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy
- any electrical appliance provided in the rented property is safe and has the CE marking.
The electrical installation refers to all the fixed electrical equipment in a property – cables, sockets, switches, light fittings, fuse box, and wiring.
This newsletter outlines what landlords need to do and put in place to ensure that the electrics in their rental property are as safe as possible – and that they have the relevant paperwork to prove this.
Content for this Newsletter is provided to LandlordZONE by the Electrical Safety Council.
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