The buy-to-let market has, for years, been seen as a great way to invest and make money for landlords with property portfolios. With the recent government crackdown and changes in tax laws buy-to-let may not be the investment it once was.
New Electrical Safety Law
The latest requirement proposed is for landlords to have all electrics and sockets checked prior to a tenancy beginning. Checks then need to be carried out at five-year intervals to ensure safety standards are met. Strangely, these new checks won’t be extended to social housing and hence only affect the private rental sector.
With a Conservative majority in government the proposed bill is not expected to meet with much resistance and is expected to be passed for new tenancies beginning on 1 July 2020 and for existing tenancies from 1 April of the following year. For more information regarding landlord obligations see https://landlords.org.uk/support-advice/landlord-regulations-obligations-laws.
Landlords Who Don’t Comply
Landlords who fail to comply will be fined under the new law, which could amount to thousands of pounds for those with large portfolios. This is the latest in a number of changes that have been made to protect the safety and living standards of tenants which also saw the introduction of tenants being able to sue landlords over damp or mouldy properties if the issue is not resolved. For landlords or agents handling large property portfolios, it can be hard to keep track of what needs to be done where or to complete check-in and check-out inventories. To simplify the process, property inventory software such as that from https://inventorybase.co.uk/ can be a great help.
If there is a problem with a property and the landlord refuses or takes too long to resolve it, tenants can now take them to court or report them to Environmental Standards. If he or she is found negligent, the landlord will have to fix the problem and may have to pay legal costs.
This new law is welcomed by most, since electrical faults are responsible for over half of domestic fires in the UK. With a crackdown on the industry as a whole, unscrupulous landlords will need to be careful and take their role seriously or face major fines and possibly even court cases instigated by unhappy tenants.