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Landlord Electrical Safety Fines

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Landlords: Could you be facing a £30k fine?

1 April 2021 deadline for electrical safety checks passes

Buy-to-let landlords could face fines of £30k for non-compliance with new laws which came into force on 1 April 2021 to protect tenants from faulty electrics in rental properties. 

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, which were introduced on 1 June 2020 for all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020, now apply to all existing tenancies. 

The regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected at least every five years and tested by a ‘qualified and competent’ person. This is to ensure national standards set out in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations, which came into effect in 2019, are met. Any investigative or remedial work recommended has to be carried out if the report requires this. Landlords also have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants as well as to the local authority if requested. 

COVID delays; deadline extension rejected

According to a member survey by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), 70% of landlords made the required checks by the end of 2020, with almost a third (30%) left to complete the work in the first three months of 2021. 

Calls for an extension to the deadline were rejected despite landlords facing restricted access to properties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with many tenants shielding or refusing permission due to concerns about spreading the virus.  

There is also evidence of a lack of understanding of the rules amongst landlords, with The Telegraph reporting technical helpline calls to the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting jumped 56% between February and March 2021.

Is it too late to complete the checks?

Despite no extension to the deadline, it’s not too late to complete the required electrical safety checks, which are now legally on all rental properties. Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) cost between £150-300 and must be renewed every five years. 

Landlords who fail to comply or make the necessary checks face fines of up to £30,000 – but those who missed the deadline will not be in breach of the regulation if they can demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply. The NRLA advises landlords to keep records of communications with tenants to prove this. 

Even if you have not retained evidence of communication with tenants, you can still complete the checks now and avoid prosecution, with the authorities proactively targeting landlords who are unaware of the laws or deliberately flouting their obligation. 

Richard Rowntree, Managing Director of Mortgages at Paragon, said: “The electrical safety standards add an extra layer of cost and complexity for landlords, and have been challenging for many to implement during consecutive national lockdowns. Paragon welcomes the regulations, which will improve safety and quality of living for tenants in the private rented sector – but more should be done to support compliant landlords in ensuring checks can be carried out appropriately without the threat of a £30k fine. 

“Paragon expects landlords who carry out the work soon after the deadline has passed to avoid prosecution and encourage landlords to complete any outstanding checks immediately. We support fines for landlords who deliberately fail to comply with the rules, which are designed to protect both buy-to-let homeowners and their tenants.” 

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Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551