Fire safety warning to Dorset landlords

Blanchards Bailey solicitor Wingwai Tam is advising landlords that from 1 April, all tenanted residential properties must have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report
Blanchards Bailey solicitor Wingwai Tam is advising landlords that from 1 April, all tenanted residential properties must have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report

Dorset landlords are being warned they face fines of up to £30,000 if they don’t comply with new electrical safety regulations being introduced for private rented properties next month.

Wingwai Tam, litigation and disputes solicitor at award-winning law firm Blanchards  Bailey, says all existing tenanted residential properties must have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) from 1 April.

In practice, this means that all fixed electrical cables, sockets, fuse boxes and equipment (including those that are fixed directly to the electrical supply), within the property must be inspected and tested by a qualified, reputable professional. Non-fixed appliances such as televisions and fridges are not included.

Local authorities will be able to act and impose fines under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 if such properties remain uninspected.

Landlords will in future need to commission an inspection every five years to ensure electrical safety standards are maintained although there is no need for a new test at every change of tenancy.

Blandford-based Wingwai said: “It is a positive move that steps are now in place to ensure properties are safe for tenants across all residential tenancies.

“Every tenant should be able to sleep soundly at night knowing their home is safe and secure.

“However, the new regulations do very much put the onus on landlords to make sure their properties fully comply.

“It is vital that action is taken now to ensure that homes are compliant by April to avoid the risk of punitive action.”

After properties have been inspected, the reputable professional will either issue the EICR certificate or advise that remedial work or further investigation is required.

Once landlords have carried out the remedial works, they must provide the tenant with written confirmation of its completion within 28 days.

Landlords found to be in breach of the regulations will be issued with a Notice of Intent by the local authority within six months, detailing the amount of the fine and the reasons. An appeal is possible.

Local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties.

Wingwai added: “If tenants refuse access then landlords will need to make sure they evidence that reasonable steps have been taken to comply.

“They must make proper efforts to exercise their contractual rights of access to comply with statutory obligations, and give appropriate written notice of intention to inspect, the purpose of the inspection and of their intention to carry out remedial work if required.

“Anyone adversely affected by the regulations should take specialist advice and contact a member of Blanchards Bailey’s experienced property litigation team, to discuss the necessary steps to avoid or mitigate a financial penalty.”

Eighty-strong Blanchards Bailey is a Legal 500 firm – making it one of the top firms in the South West – and is based in Blandford with offices in Poundbury, Shaftesbury and Weymouth.

The firm received extensive recognition in the UK's leading law sector directory, the Legal 500. The annual publication, The Legal 500 2020/21, mentions the firm in six categories with seven individual lawyers recommended.

Blanchards Bailey also won a hat-trick of titles at the 2019 Dorset Legal Awards: Law Firm of the Year (up to 99 employees), Company Commercial Team of the Year and Private Client Team of the Year.

 

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