Late yesterday afternoon, the Government published amended Electrical Regulations guidance notes covering private rented properties in England.
ARLA was quick to notice that owing to apparent contradictions within the document there is now a state of confusion as to exactly when the new regulations, which require tenanted properties to be checked for electrical safety, actually apply.
In the opening introduction of the guidance it states:
“If you sign a new tenancy agreement on or after 1 July 2020 the Regulations will apply to your rented home straight away.
“If you signed your tenancy agreement before 1 July 2020 the Regulations will apply for you from 1 April 2021.”
That is what was previously stated and what the industry expected.
However, further on in the guidance notes, at Section 4, for tenants, it states:
“If you sign your tenancy agreement after 1 June 2020 and your rented home is your only or main residence and you pay rent, then your home will be covered by these requirements from 1 July 2020”.
In the guidance for landlords it now says:
“The Regulations apply from 1 July 2020 to new tenancies that begun on or after 1 June 2020 and to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021”.
This is different to both the opening introduction and the changes in section 4 of the tenant guidance; so instead of the one clear message that existed yesterday morning, by yesterday evening the guidance said three different things in three different places.
And for good measure, in the Guidance to Local Authorities, it says at section 2:
“The Regulations apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021”.
If correct, the change to a June 1st 2020 date brings thousands of private rented sector properties into scope and in need of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) this summer rather than by April 2021.
Yesterday evening ARLA Propertymark reported that it is ensuring that MHCLG fully understand the consequences of the change.
Breaches of the regulations carry fines of up to £30,000.
However it is worth noting that the Regulations themselves (which may be expected to take precedence over the guidance notes) state:
Citation, commencement and application
1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.
(2) These Regulations come into force on 1st June 2020.
(3) These Regulations apply in England only to—
(a)all new specified tenancies from 1st July 2020; and
(b)all existing specified tenancies from 1st April 2021.
We will update this story when more information – and clarity – comes available.