The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is calling for a delay to the introduction of mandatory electricity checks in rental properties, that was announced by the government last week.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government announced it would be publishing new guidance setting out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out the important inspections.

Properties that already have a valid electrical installation condition report will not need to replace it until five years have passed since it was issued.

Agents must ensure that any inspectors hired to issue an EICR hold the correct qualifications and are competent to carry out the inspection. Tough financial penalties will apply where this isn’t complied with. This proposal would become law ‘as soon as the Parliamentary timetable allows’ with the industry getting at least six months' notice.

But ARLA has urged the government to publish the corresponding guidance ‘as soon as time allows’. “We welcome the requirement for inspectors to hold the correct qualification and a level of competency, as we have previously called for a competent person scheme specific to private rented sector electrical testing,” the statement from ARLA said.

“The government must ensure that there is sufficient time for practical implementation to take place.

“There will be a limited number of practitioners qualified to complete the checks. The rules need to be easy to understand and comply with, for both property professionals and their tenants.

“Finally, letting agents are dealing with unprecedented levels of change over coming months and the pressure on the private rented sector to deliver against all of the requirements should not be underestimated.”