Electrical Safety Regulations - Landlords, are you ready?

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (Electrical Safety Regulations 2020) came into force on 1 June 2020 and applied to new tenancies granted after that date.

From 1 April 2021 they will apply to all tenancies, whenever granted, so landlords need to ensure they have complied and if not take steps to do so.

The regulations require testing of fixed electrical parts, including wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box, at least every 5 years. They do not relate to appliances that are not fixed, such as cookers, fridges and televisions.

They only apply to tenancies of residential premises that grant occupancy as the tenant’s only or main residence and which provide for payment of rent. This will therefore include all assured shorthold tenancies.

There are a number of exclusions including those where the occupier shares any accommodation with the landlord or a member of the landlord’s family (lodgers). Nor do the regulations apply to holiday lets or similar, as these will not be the tenant’s main residence.

If the regulations do apply, private landlords must:-

  • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. (18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’ - 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 remedial or further investigative work is necessary this must be completed within 28 days (or any shorter period if specified as necessary) and written confirmation of completion by the electrician must be given to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion.

Local housing authorities can impose civil penalties up to a maximum of £30,000 and have power to serve a remedial notice.

It is however noted that a landlord will not be in breach of the duty to comply with a remedial notice if it can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply. They should keep copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange to carry out the work, including any replies they have had. It is suggested that landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the electrical installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous condition reports.

For more information see - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities

The requirement for Electrical Safety Certificates is, of course, in addition to the existing requirements to provide the tenant with valid Gas Safety Certificate and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Failure to do this can prevent the landlord from serving a section 21 notice. Also worth remembering is the fact that the EPC must show an energy performance rating of E or above, otherwise the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) mean that the property will be regarded as sub-standard and cannot legally be let under a tenancy.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact Jonathan Hardiker or Suzie Fisher at our Kendal office.

This article is for guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. It should not be relied on as such.

Published 18 February 2021

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