Bury Council in Manchester has adopted new measures to fine landlords up to £30,000 if their properties don’t meet the recently-introduced electrical safety standards.

Although the standards came into force in June 2020, they had not been adopted and implemented by the council which has now agreed to introduce the civil penalties after a report to the council’s cabinet said unsafe electrical installations in rented homes ‘will not be tolerated’.

Regulations now apply to all tenancies in England and require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person, at least every five years, and to give a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and local authority if requested.

Councils can decide the level of penalty for landlords who don’t comply – up to £30,000 – and can spend the proceeds on enforcement purposes.

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Civil penalties

It’s not known how many councils have adopted the civil penalties or how many landlords have been fined so far, says the Local Government Association.

Last December, LandlordZONE reported that East Riding Council had signed off civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to taking landlords to court.

Bury councillor Clare Cummins says: “The additional provision to impose a fine up to £30,000 sends a strong message to any rogue landlord that substandard property conditions and unsafe electrical installations will not be tolerated. We as a council want to send out a clear message that we expect all homes to be safe and of a decent standard within the PRS.”

Not surprising

“As a result of the pandemic and consequent lockdown it’s not surprising if there’s been limited enforcement of the legal requirement for regular electrical checks in the PRS,” says Lesley Rudd, chief executive of campaigning charity Electrical Safety First.

“While the requirement came into force in June 2020, it was only applied to existing tenancies this April.  Although the Government didn’t extend this deadline, it did state that landlords wouldn’t be prosecuted if they could show they had taken all reasonable steps to comply with the requirement.

“So we have advised landlords to keep a record of their communications with tenants, to show that they have made every effort to do so.

“Private landlords have been legally obliged to provide annual gas safety certificates since 1998. Yet electricity causes more fires (and deaths) than gas – over half of fires in UK homes arise from electricity.

“The introduction of regular, five yearly electrical checks in the PRS should not be regarded as a burden for landlords, but as a safety essential.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. So long as all the property owned and let by this council has been subject to the same inspection regime and all passed then fine but I guarantee it won’t be.

    Another situation whereby the landlord is forced to comply with new legislation with no account taken for the current challenges ie covid , lack of electrician availability etc and lack of rent payments. Contrast this to the government supported flexibility and leniency where tenants are concerned. Don’t want to pay rent , don’t. Don’t want to leave the free house you’re living in , no problem, want to damage the property and behave in a criminal way , all fine with no penalties.

    All these left wing councils and charities purporting to support tenants are doing is forcing landlords to exit the sector in droves. The reality is there is no provision to fill this gap , the councils don’t have the housing so all that will happen is that tenants will either have to find more money for rent , supply and demand, and we will see a significant increase in homelessness.

    • I agree with you up to a point.
      With all the Government imposed anti landlord laws of the last few years I assumed the government just didn’t understand the PRS, but now I see what’s going on. This deeply corrupt government in deliberately creating a hostile environment for landlords and encouraging landlords to sell up and quit the sector is in fact paving the way for their big business friends to move in. The government wins twice, firstly as there are more tenants than landlords it gets them votes and secondly lots of backhanders from their big business “sponsors”.
      The proof of my theory is that none of the tax changes apply to registered corporations, only to private landlords, and little of the other standards apply to social housing and charities, again only to private landlords. The real proof of the corporate takeover of the UK PRS are the recent announcements that Lloyds Bank and John Lewis are getting into the landlord business. They will be first of many to be getting into the sector and will have many desperate tenants to choose from due to all the smaller landlords having left the sector. This is truly a conspiracy theory to believe in.

  2. On reading the above comments, I’d rather have a “deeply corrupt government’ than a Labour one with the hard left Marxist John McDonnell putting the nail in the coffin for landlords.

  3. This sounds like more moves by Andy Burnham (Mayor of Manchester) to pave the way for his return to the front bench and depose Starmer. They don’t genuinely care about the homeless or aggrieved tenants if they did they would not be shrinking the PRS with the onslaught of regulations.

    Personally, for me EICR is just a routine matter that I have been doing for about a decade already. My view is that I own the property therefore its in my own interests to make sure its in good order plus you can guarantee if there is an insurance claim for any reason if all the paper work is not in order they will use that as a reason not to pay out.
    Just as you get an MOT for the motor, I get the electrics checked, plus when it comes to selling the property it’s a good marketing tool to show “Service history” of the property.

    I’m not as concerned as some with the so called “Corporatisation” of the PRS.
    John Lewis is proposing 10,000 properties mostly above shops. They have over 80,000 employees as potential tenants.
    Any well known corporation runs the risk of serious reputational damage when the inevitable evictions start entering the court process…

    I can see the headlines now… “Lloyds Bank bailed out by taxpayers now evicting tax paying tenants for a few hundred pounds rent arrears” Banks many be more willing because they already foreclose on mortgage defaulters but retailers who rely heavily on a customer focused “Friendly” image will quickly get their fingers burnt and withdraw.

    The tag line “Every little helps” will not sit well when evicting a single parent with 4 kids, cat and dog.

    Even with a letting agent letting property requires additional work to make it pay. If one paid contractors for every bit of decorating etc there would be no profit whatsoever corporations would need an army of paid staff.

    With 4.5 million households in the PRS the likes of Lloyds and John Lewis simply don’t have the sort of money required to buy up 4 million plus properties. I worked for Tesco in the ‘80’s and they had flats above quite a few supermarkets but they were never advertised on the open market but were made available to staff, mostly management because part of the promotion process within firms like Tesco is to offer promotions to staff that entail moving to a different shop.
    It’s far easier as a newly promoted manager to turn up and start giving orders. It’s is much harder for a supervisor who (At the same store) then gets promoted to management and has to start bossing their former friends around.
    As for rent… What employee is going to risk their job and accommodation over non- payment?

    The option for corporations to enter the PRS has always been available to them so how come they have never exercised that option?
    Pension funds & corporations stick to the commercial sector for good reasons, its “Business to business” activity and therefore out of the public eye therefore avoids the chance of reputational damage from bad publicity.

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