Efficient electrical checks required as rental bounce is here to stay

With the surge in demand for rental properties since the lettings market reopened in May set to continue, letting agents and landlords must be prepared to deal with a high number of mandatory electrical checks.

National provider of property certificates PropCert says efficiency in processing electrical checks, which became mandatory for new tenancies in July, can help to ensure contracts are granted quickly while remaining compliant with the new regulations.

Lettings boom looks set to stay

Following the reopening of the property market in mid-May, there has been a surge in demand from tenants. This increased level of activity looks set to continue as there have been sustained positive reports throughout June, July and August.

A recent sentiment survey from RICS found that tenant demand had recovered to +35% in July, bouncing back from -44% the previous quarter. Meanwhile, research from ARLA Propertymark released in August found that the number of tenants registering with letting agency branches reached a record high in June.

At the same time, almost three in 10 letting agents saw landlords increasing rent in June as a result of high demand from prospective renters.

“The surge in lettings demand appears to have extended beyond just a release of pent-up lockdown demand, becoming a sustained trend throughout the summer months,” says Tom Harrington, Managing Director of PropCert.

“As we move towards autumn, which is traditionally a busy period for the market, there is nothing to suggest that high levels of market activity won’t continue as movers look to find homes which meet their new criteria and priorities.”

New tenancies mean more electrical checks

With agents and landlords processing a higher number of tenancies, there is more pre-tenancy administration work to carry out and compliance measures to meet.

The most recent regulation change affecting new tenancies is the introduction of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 on July 1.

It is now a requirement for an EICR report to be carried out before the start of all new tenancies, with all fixed electrical installations inspected at least every five years by a qualified professional.

There are a range of other steps for landlords – or letting agents working on their behalf – to follow, including providing copies of EICR reports to new tenants.

“The new regulations mean that there is now a greater demand for professionals carrying out electrical checks than ever before. High tenant demand means that agents and landlords will be under pressure to get these checks completed quickly so moves aren’t delayed,” Harrington explains.

“Since the new rules were introduced in July, property professionals may have realised that they need to assess the electricians they work with and the processes they have in place to keep up with demand and remain compliant.”

Why agents need an efficient system in place

Implementing efficient and technology-led processes for mandatory electrical checks allows agents to help landlords move quickly, while also contributing towards landlord satisfaction and retention.

“Having access to a large pool of electricians is crucial as high tenant demand has a direct impact on the number of electrical checks which need processing,” adds Harrington.

He says that being able to manage the process of organising electrical checks online will also benefit agents, particularly as they can track orders, monitor updates and keep electronic records of all work that has been carried out.

“An efficient online system can help agents and landlords to manage their ever-growing workloads, while knowing they are compliant with the new regulations,” Harrington says.

“Ultimately, mandatory electrical checks have been introduced to protect tenants and landlords’ investments. Therefore, managing the process through trusted suppliers and using the services of the best qualified electricians is in the interest of all stakeholders,” he concludes.