New mandatory electrical safety testing for private rental properties

Mandatory electrical safety testing for all new tenancies in England is being introduced from July 1st this year with all existing tenancies required to be compliant by April 2021, following this date the regulations will apply to all properties across the Private Rented Sector.

PWRA remind any shareholders letting out their property that complying with this regulation will also be an obligation under the terms of the lease.

Further official guidance from government was expected on June 1st, however given the ongoing Covid-19 crisis this guidance is unlikely. PWRA advice to landlords is to commission an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), fixed wiring test. These certificates are usually valid for 5 years. Landlords must rectify any Category 1 hazards immediately and Category 2 hazards as soon as possible but within 28 days.

A copy of the EICR report and its recommendations should be provided to each tenant on completion. PWRA also request that a copy of this report is sent to directors@plymouthwharf.com

Whilst the picture for renewals is less clear, landlords and agents acting on their behalf should assume that any renewing tenancies (including those that fall into Statutory
Periodic) will require inspecting and testing before the existing tenancy renews.

With that in mind and given the likely high demand for electricians, PWRA recommend you instruct works well in advance of a tenancy renewal.

Local authorities can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for a breach of the regulations. Where there are multiple breaches, the local authority can impose multiple penalties. 

PWRA do not provide recommendations of electricians or tradespeople. Electrical Safety First, the UK’s leading charity on electrical safety provide a search tool on their website that can be used to find certified registered electricians.

Hyperoptic on-site (May 27-29th)

Engineers from Hyperoptic will be on-site to conduct surveys relating to provision of high-speed fibre broadband to the houses in the development May 27-29th. The service is already available to flats.

The work will involve lifting of BT manholes on the development and should cause minimal disruption. We have sought assurance from Hyperoptic that all work will be done following government COVID-19 guidance, which they have confirmed.

We have not been advised of any need to access individual properties at this time and have clarified to Hyperoptic that they will need permission from both us and corresponding owners if they do.

Any enquiries relating to Hyperoptic relating to getting service should be directed to them. Please do not engage the engineers directly whilst they are onsite. We have been asked to respect social distancing guidelines and they will be unlikely to be able to answer specific questions anyway.

Disclaimer

PWRA has no involvement between the relationship between Hyperoptic and residents opting to take their service. Any tenants are also reminded that they should seek the permission of their property owner before requesting a new connection as this typically requires wiring a connection point internally in the property.

PWRA does not promote or recommend the use of any broadband provider over another. Hyperoptic was granted permission to provide services to the development as an additional option after they contacted us after interest expressed by a number of residents. The connection provided by Hyperoptic will facilitate much higher internet speeds than currently available due to use of fibre to the premises (FTTP).

Parking regulations

We have recently received a number of complaints from residents around parking on the development. The parking regulations are already stated within the Lease (shared with owners – [clause 4(n)] ) and the Residents Handbook (available to owners and tenants). For awareness we are also sharing these regulations here:

Defined parking areas

Each flat is provided a specific allocated space in the area outside the block or around the central garden. The allocated spaces are defined within the Lease and Residents Handbook. For privacy reasons we do not publish the space allocation publicly here but owners and tenants can contact directors@plymouthwharf.com if unsure.

Each house is provided space on their forecourt for parking in addition to garage.

There are also a number of allocated “visitor” bays around the central garden, each one is clearly marked with a sign saying “visitor”.

Parking outside of the allocated areas is not permitted. The only exception being emergency vehicles or if explicitly agreed with PWRA board as a temporary exception. Such exceptions are typically only granted for maintenance of the overall development.

Use of allocated parking spaces

The following regulations are outlined in the Residents Handbook:

  1. Parking for the flats is in allocated spaces around the blocks and garden in accordance with the provisions of each of the Owner’s leases
  2. Flat Owners have exclusive right to use their own parking space.  Flat Owners shall not park their vehicles in other people’s allocated parking spaces – this will amount to trespass – unless they have explicit permission to do so from the corresponding owner
  3. There shall be no parking in such a way as to obstruct access to and from a resident’s allocated parking space – or allocated visitor bay
  4. Parking for the houses is in their own garages and on their own forecourts.  House Owners shall not park their vehicles in other people’s allocated parking spaces – this will amount to trespass – unless they have explicit permission to do so from the corresponding owner
  5. The Lease does provide that the five visitors’ bays may be used, if vacant, on a short-term basis only.  If these are full, then parking shall be outside the development  
  6. No parking is permitted at each end of the centre garden island as this restricts access of emergency vehicles.  No parking of bicycles or vehicles on the communal pedestrian areas  
  7. No  parking of bicycles in the flat block corridors or stairwells, nor the chaining of bicycles to railings, as maintenance of these areas is the responsibility of PWRA. There are two cycling racks to the left and right as you enter the main gates where you can park your bikes 
  8. Commercial vehicles cannot be parked anywhere on the development – unless explicitly agreed with PWRA board as a temporary exception. Such exceptions are typically only granted for maintenance of the overall development.
  9. Owners and Tenants are responsible for ensuring that their visitors comply with the parking regulations set out in the above paragraph.  The maximum stay for visitors’ vehicles in the visitor’s bays shall be 48 hours per week, after this time any visitor shall remove their vehicle from the Wharf – unless explicitly agreed with PWRA board as a temporary exception. Such exceptions are typically only granted for maintenance of the overall development.
  10. It is not permitted for residents to utilise their allocated space for commercial purposes or to rent it out for use by other people who do not reside on the development
  11. Any vehicle parked on the development must comply with government regulations – specifically be: registered with the DVLA, have up-to-date vehicle tax, have a current MOT and be roadworthy

Speed limit and direction of travel

The speed of vehicles in the Wharf shall not exceed 10 mph and vehicles shall comply with the one way system, which is clockwise from the Saunders Ness Road entrance.

Enforcement

PWRA board of directors will take action to enforce breaches of the parking regulations; including application of penalty fines, reporting to the police or even legal action if necessary.

Use of visitor bays and communal areas for parking is monitored regularly including via CCTV system where security or safety is a concern.

With regards to unauthorised use of private allocated spaces by others, we rely on residents to report this as we do not maintain a list of vehicles and their owners. Any resident whose space is being used without their permission can report this to directors@plymouthwharf.com. All emails will be treated in confidence.

Longer term we are looking to introduce a parking permit system to enable more effective policing of parking.

Notifications of new posts from the PWRA website

We’ve just introduced a new feature to the website to allow you to receive a notification directly to your computer or mobile device every time a new article is posted.

This works with most recent web-browsers and mobile devices. To use simply press the ALLOW button when the message “We’d like to show you notifications for the latest news and updates” appears (as shown in the picture). Alternatively, you can click on the red “bell” icon if this appears.

For more information on how this works you can read the article here: https://www.airship.com/resources/explainer/push-notifications-explained/

Use of communal areas during period of enhanced Coronavirus (COVID-19) controls

On the 23rd March the UK Government enhanced much stricter controls to reduce the spread of infection within the UK and reduce strain on essential public services. Full details of this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

At Plymouth Wharf we are lucky to have a private communal outside space that residents can use to exercise etc. However, for the safety of all residents we ask that everyone apply common sense should they do this. Furthermore, due to the restrictions we may experience reduced cleaning and refuse collection services.

For these reasons, we are asking all residents to heed the following guidance with regards use of communal areas:

  • Follow the government guidance on keeping safe distances and restricting any outing to small household groups only;
  • Only utilise the outside space if you can see it is not already busy with others and be considerate of others in terms of how much time you take up;
  • Take responsibility for tidying and disposing your waste as efficiently as possible (break down cardboard boxes, double bag refuse in black bags etc);
  • Take responsibility for keeping shared communal spaces clean (e.g. block and entrance doors etc) including wiping down with wipes / cleaning products where possible

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

We have recently received a number of queries from residents regarding the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It is important to remain calm and follow the government guidance, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

At this point we are not aware of any resident infection with COVID-19 in the development but all residents are asked to pay close attention to hygiene especially where shared facilities are concerned.

Having taken guidance from ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Associations), of which PWRA is a member, we will however be taking the following additional steps and precautions:

  • We are contacting all our suppliers and contractors to ask that they ensure they follow government guidance as well as report any instances of Coronavirus infection within their staff to us;
  • We are asking any residents who are self-isolating due to suspected Coronavirus symptoms or because they believe they are within a high risk vulnerable group to register with PWRA board of directors by emailing directors@plymouthwharf.com providing:
    • Property number
    • Reason for self-isolation
    • Number of people within the household
    • Preferred contact email and telephone number
  • Note – This information register:
    • will be kept securely and strictly in-confidence in accordance with data protection (GDPR) regulations as outlined by the ICO;
    • will not be shared with anyone outside of the PWRA board of directors;
    • will only used to monitor safety of those residents and guide ongoing policy decisions;
    • will only be held as long as the outbreak continues, whereupon it will be destroyed.
  • A number of residents have already offered to provide support such as collecting shopping or even someone to talk to for those self-isolating. Anyone requiring such assistance should either utilise the community WhatsApp group or contact us directly and we will be happy to coordinate.

Waste disposal considerations

Please pay attention to the government guidance on waste disposal particularly if you think you may have symptoms to help us reduce risk to other residents:

“When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.”

We will be sharing this same communication with all property owners via email or in writing according to their recorded preferences and kindly ask that all owners please share the link to this post with their tennants.

Driving safety and speed

We have had a number of complaints recently of people not observing the rules for driving on the development and driving with excessive speed or without due care and attention.

Residents and owners are reminded that a 10mph speed limit is in force and the development operates a clockwise one-way system. This is very clearly signed on the main entry gate.

These rules were implemented for good reason to keep everyone safe. There are a number of young families, children and pets on the development. Please remember that and ensure your visitors and any agents or tradespeople coming on your behalf also do so.

Annual Plymouth Wharf BBQ – 2nd November

If you were wondering what happened to the annual PWRA Summer BBQ this year, don’t worry you haven’t missed it. Unfortunately, our organising committee couldn’t find a suitable date in the summer so we will be having a Winter BBQ instead. It might be a bit colder but as a consolation we will be having some fireworks to go along with it.

To keep things easier PWRA will only be supplying the BBQ, charcoal and fireworks so please bring food and drink (we will provide plates, sauces and some buns).

Gate fobs and intercom phone connection

We have had a number of recent enquiries from residents regarding how to use the main gate or obtain replacement fobs.

Fobs

There are two different types of fobs that can be used to open the main vehicle and pedestrian gates: touch fobs and remote fobs.

The touch fobs do not require batteries and can be used to open both the pedestrian and vehicle gates by simply touching them on the appropriate panel.

The remote fobs require batteries and can only be used to open the vehicle gate. There are different types of remote fobs. If you are having problems with your remote fob not working, we suggest you first check and replace your batteries.

Replacement fobs can be obtained by emailing directors@plymouthwharf.com and making a payment to the PWRA bank account of £5 for remote fobs and £15 for touch fobs using FOBS and your property number as reference

Unfortunately, for security reasons we can only issues fobs to property owners. If you are a tenant please contact your landlord or managing agent.

Gate intercom

The main gate intercom works differently to that at the flat block doors and requires connection to a landline telephone number. Once set up, when your property number is selected on the main gate, your telephone will ring and you can use buttons 0 and 1 on your phone keypad to open either the vehicle or pedestrian gate respectively.

To connect your landline to the gate requires emailing directors@plymouthwharf.com and making a payment to the PWRA bank account of £28.80 with reference GATE and your property number. The setup process typically takes 3-5 days once payment is confirmed.

This charge is payable to the company that maintain and setup the intercom system for us and so if you change your telephone number then you will need to pay again. Due to call charge costs, we can also only support landline numbers.

Unfortunately, for security reasons if you are a tenant rather than a property owner we will need confirmation from your landlord or managing agent before we can action the change.