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Electrical Safety News

When you are a landlord, you should remember that people actually live in your property! It’s more than just bricks and mortar and an investment. It’s ultimately someone’s home.
There lies within property ownership a responsibility to tenants to make sure that they are safe. Indeed, it’s an obligation, and it’s a legal responsibility too.
For years, landlords have had to carry out regular gas safety checks, but new rules now mean that landlords must carry out electrical safety checks too.
Here, we set out what they’re all about.
What’s Changed?
The Government, which says it acknowledges many landlords are responsible owners, said it wants to make sure people are safe when they live in rented accommodation.
So, new guidelines were drafted, and those new rules came into force in June 2020 as the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.
At the time, the Government said: “This is a major step towards levelling up the private rented sector, making sure it will offer high-quality, safe and secure housing.”
This is good thinking, and a welcome move, particularly when you consider that gas safety checks have been carried out for years now.
What do the new Rules Mean?
Landlords must now comply with the new regulations. They must have “the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every five years”.
A copy of the electrical safety report must be provided to tenants, and also to a local authority (like the council) if requested.
Basically, electrical testing has got to be done by professionals with the correct knowledge and skill.
Does this Apply to all of a Landlord’s Properties?
The new regulations must be adhered to, but there are two dates to be mindful of. The rules apply to new tenancies from July 1, 2020. This means for new tenancies that commenced after July 1, a safety report should already have been carried out. However, landlords have until April 1, 2021, for existing tenancies.
Can Anyone do an Inspection?
No. As the guidelines say, the inspection must be carried out by a competent person who is registered to do so. You can find a list of professionals here
What do the Inspections Cover?
Inspections are not about fridges of kettles or other small appliances or white goods. What they about are the fixed electrical things like plug sockets and lights, and also showers if they are electric and permanently fixed.
Tests will see if everything is safe or if there is a risk of fire or an electric shock. It’s pretty easy to see why an inspection needs to be done – and that is to protect life and property. Depending on what an inspection finds, action may or may not be required. Landlords must then carry out the work within a specified time, and there must be written evidence of this.
What Happens if Electrics Remain Unsafe?
Responsible landlords will want to get any electrical issues fixed and will take action to make good anything highlighted in the inspection report immediately. In the guidelines, if work is not carried out, local councils have the authority to serve a remedial notice on a landlord who must then get the job done. If they don’t, and the council is confident that landlord duties have been breached, it can inform the landlord that it intends to impose a fixed penalty – and this could be up to £30,000.
It makes good business sense to ensure properties are inspected, and it’s a legal duty now too, so we recommend that landlords get started and make sure their properties have been inspected.
Chances are, you’ll have been working with people you trust, but you must ensure they are competent. If you are unsure, use the website to check if a tradesperson you know is registered.
If you are a landlord in Bow and have any queries at all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Get in touch with us here at Stephen James or call 02088212888 and we’ll run through the details with you.
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UK house prices rising at fastest rate since February 2018

Halifax shows rate of growth at 4.1%, partly due to sales delayed amid 2019 uncertainty .

UK house prices are rising at their fastest annual rate for nearly two years, according to Halifax, prompting claims that the property market is heading into the crucial spring season in reasonable shape. Halifax said house prices rose by 0.4% in January, adding just over £1,000 to the average price tag of £240,054. This was enough to lift the annual rate of price growth to 4.1% – the highest figure since February 2018. As recently as October 2019, this annual figure was below 1%.

Market commentators have talked about a “Boris bounce” in housing activity since the election in mid-December, and the new figures come days after Nationwide pointed to a revival in fortunes, with data showing annual price growth at a 14-month high. However, Halifax was a little less upbeat than some analysts, saying that while a number of market indicators were showing signs of improvement, “it is too early to say if a corner has been turned”. Russell Galley, the lender’s managing director, added: “The recent positive figures may actually represent activity that would ordinarily have been expected to take place last year, but was delayed by economic uncertainty.”

Halifax expects only a “moderate” rate of price growth this year. However, it said demand for homes was likely to continue to exceed the supply of properties for sale, and that levels of home-building were “subdued”, with both of these factors likely to add to upwards price pressure.

The Halifax figures show that despite 2019 being viewed by many as a challenging year, the typical UK home is currently worth £9,000 more than it was in January 2019, when the average price was £230,784. Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former residential chairman at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “Halifax confirms what we have been seeing at the sharp end since just before the election: that there is a modest recovery under way.” He added that the improvement was “patchy”, with a more sustained uplift only likely if there was an increase in the supply of homes for sale.

Jonathan Hopper, the managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said: “This is encouraging, rather than explosive, price growth. This is a property market enjoying the first flush of spring … The question now is whether this moment in the sun will turn into real momentum.” David Westgate, the group chief executive of Andrews Property Group, said he expected demand to strengthen during the key spring period as pent-up demand started to come through.  “In the past week alone, since we formally exited the EU, activity levels and sentiment have picked up even more. It’s like people have had a weight taken off their minds,” he said.

Source: The Guardian, February 7th 2020

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