Landlord association has spotted two significant problems with the looming Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 currently makes its way through parliament.

A legal loophole in Government plans to provide reassurance about properties’ electrical safety could leave some tenants at risk for almost a year, claim a landlords group.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 is set to be introduced in June but the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says some rental properties won’t have a legally binding electrical safety regime for up to 11 months, leaving tenants without the assurance that their home is safe.

That’s because the new law immediately removes landlords’ obligations to carry out electrical safety checks in HMOs – while the new rules, although with similar requirements, won’t apply until a tenancy is renewed or April 2021, whichever comes first.

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Landlords and agents will need to ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1st July 2020 or from 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies.

The new plans, currently going through Parliament, also contain weaker penalties for landlords failing to keep their properties safe, which means they can’t be prosecuted and councils won’t be able to issue them with a Banning Order, says the RLA. 

It has written to the Ministry of Housing about the loophole and is calling on the Government to delay the implementation of the new framework so these problems can be ironed out.

David Smith, RLA policy director, tells LandlordZONE: “HMOs that are not licensed are being knocked out of the new regime. 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.” He adds that it is concerned that by inserting conditions into existing HMO licences the Government will set a precedent for changes to other HMO regulations. “We think this could have wider implications for future legislation.”

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