Private sector housing standards and enforcement
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
The new regulations came into force on 1 June 2020.
The regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and to their local authority if requested.
This means that all landlords now have to do what good landlords already do: make sure the electrical installations in their rented properties are safe.
Electrical installations must be inspected and tested prior to the start of a new tenancy from 1 July 2020. Checks must also be carried out on any existing tenancies by 1 April 2021.
You can access the full details in the Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector.
Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
Where the report shows that corrective or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
Supply written confirmation that the work has been completed from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion.
Private sector housing standards and enforcement
The standards enforced are contained in the amenity standards approved by Cabinet and the HHSRS assessment introduced by the Housing Act 2004
How we enforce legislation in relation to housing can be found in the council’s enforcement policy.
We will be proportionate in our response to illegal activity and would prefer to resolve issues informally if possible. However where landlords do not engage with us or there is a blatant disregard for the law putting the safety of tenants at risk we will take enforcement action.
Where it is necessary to serve Notices under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 we will make a charge. View the current charge.
View detailed guidance on how we enforce for offences related to property licensing.
Coronavirus Act 2020
Download the Coronovirus Act 2020 guidance for landlords, managers and tenants.
Recent changes to legislation in relation to Housing Offences
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has made a number of changes to the licensing and regulation of rented properties in the private rented sector.
Civil penalties (financial penalty)
New laws have been introduced in April 2017 to give councils additional powers to deal with rogue landlords and agents under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The new powers allow local authorities to issue a financial penalty notice to any landlords or agents who do not comply with the Housing Act 2004.
For the first time, English local authorities will be able to impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for a range of housing offences, including:
- failure to comply with a housing improvement or overcrowding notice
- failure to have the correct licence for a property that needs licensing
- failure to comply with the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) management regulations.
Previously councils only could prosecute for the above non-compliant activities but with introducing the financial penalty, the council have additional powers to pursue any non-compliance through two routes of either prosecution, or financial penalty.
Find out how civil penalty is calculated.
Rogue landlord databases
Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, a local housing authority must make an entry on the database where a landlord or property agent has received a banning order. They have the discretion to make entries where a landlord or property agent has been convicted of a banning order offence or has received 2 or more civil penalties within a 12 month period.
The database of rogue landlords and property agents came into force on 6 April 2018.
Visit central government's website for more on the rogue landlord and property agents register.
Greater Local Authority rogue landlord and agent checker
In addition, the Greater Local Authority (GLA) has implemented a rogue landlord and agent checker which is designed for London local authorities to input and share any information of enforcement/legal proceedings on any landlords.
Additional records of rogue landlords and agents are also recorded via the GLA and further information can be found on the GLA website.
Banning orders for landlords and property agents under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 provides new powers which permit local housing authorities to seek banning orders where landlords or property agents have been convicted of a banning order offence.
Banning orders come into force on 6 April 2018.
For further information please visit the landlords and banning orders for landlords sites.
Rent Repayment Order (RRO)
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 extended RROs to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order and certain other specified offences.
RROs were only previously available in respect of licensable but unlicensed properties and tenants were unable to lodge a claim unless the local authority had first prosecuted the landlord.
From today (6 April 2017), RRO applications can be made for a much wider range of offences including:
- illegal eviction or harassment of occupiers
- using violence to secure entry and
- failure to comply with a housing improvement notice or prohibition order.
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