What Landlords Need To Know About The New Electrical Safety Rules
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 became law on June 1st 2020, but agents and landlords were given until 1st April 2021 to comply. With the impending date looming over us, we thought we’d write a guide that tells Lettings Agents, Property Managers and Landlords everything they need to know.
Is the landlord electrical safety certificate a legal requirement?
First and foremost, let’s address the most important question! Is it a legal requirement? Yes it is, and failure to comply could result in fines from local authorities of up to £30,000 for breaching your duties as a landlord.
All insurers will require a copy of a valid (i.e. within date and stated as satisfactory) electrical inspection report if there is a fire claim. If the fire was caused by an electrical fault and you cannot produce the report – the claim could be void.
What are the new regulations?
The Regulations form part of the government’s wider work to improve safety in all residential premises, particularly in the private rented sector – not just within owner occupied sectors, but social housing also. This is a major step towards improving all conditions in the private rented sector, ensuring it offers high-quality, safe and secure accomodation.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require landlords to honour the following:
- To ensure national standards for electrical safety are met as laid out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
- Have the ‘electrical installations’ in their properties inspected every 5 years by a qualified and competent person, ensuring that a copy of the report is retained and the date for a future test is set.
- In the case of existing tenants, a copy of the report must be sent to them within 28 days of the date of the test. In the case of new tenants, the report must be supplied prior to them occupying the property. With prospective tenants, this must be supplied within 28 days of receiving a request for it!
- If local authorities request a copy of the report, it must be sent within 7 days.
- If remedial works are advised within the report, all landlords must address the works within 28 days or as stipulated by the competent person. Once any works have been completed, written confirmation must be sent to the tenant and local authorities within 28 days.
What is covered in ‘electrical installations’?
Electrical installations include the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property; wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fixtures (including permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors), and finally the consumer unit (or fuse box).
What is a landlord’s electrical safety certificate?
The finished report, usually referred to as an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR, details the outcome of the testing and includes any investigative or remedial work that requires attention.
The inspectors main objective is to determine what risks, if any, are prevalent in your property. Potential hazards could include:
- Overloaded circuits within the property wiring,
- Potential fire hazards,
- Any defective electrical work,
- Sufficient earthing / bonding within the installation ensuring the risk of electrical shocks have been minimised.
In the case of electrical appliances such as cookers, televisions, fridges etc, if they are the property of the landlord, then the landlord should get them regularly PAT tested and consider registering the appliances with a product registration scheme to ensure regular tests are carried out.
See guidance on PAT testing here.
If the appliances are the property of the tenant, then it is up to the tenant to ensure their products are safe!
How do I get a landlord’s electrical safety certificate?
Insurers will accept Electrical Inspection Reports from the following approved bodies, so just ensure when you select your qualified and competent person they are a member of at least one of them.
Which tenancy agreements do they cover?
Whether it’s an assured shorthold tenancy, a license to occupy or a private tenancy, if a tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent – then these regulations apply!
Properties let on statutory periodic tenancies where the fixed term expires between July 2020 and April 2021 will require an inspection and test at this point under the Regulations.
What about new build properties?
In the case of new build properties, or new electrical installations (re-wires), then the property owner should have been issued with an Electrical Installation Certificate, known as an EIC.
A copy of this should be provided to the tenants, and if requested, to the local authorities. Following this, landlords must then ensure their property is tested again in 5 years and a copy of the report sent to tenants and local authorities.
We appreciate there is a lot of information to take into account! So here’s a handy checklist of everything you need to do;
- Ensure ‘electrical installations’ within your property, (or properties) have had a Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR every 5 years.
- Send a copy of this to existing tenants within 28 days, new tenants prior to them occupying your property, prospective tenants within 28 days, and to the local authorities within 7 days, if requested.
- For new builds or new installations, ensure you have a copy of the Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) – and send it to your tenants as per point 2 above!
- Consider registering any electrical appliances you own with a product registration scheme, to ensure you get them regularly PAT tested.
Really, once you have a system in place for ensuring regular testing for electrical appliances (if applicable), and your Electrical Installation Condition Report, all you need to do is remember to send out the information to your tenants, ensuring that any further works recommended in the report are attended to in a timely fashion. This keeps them updated, reassured that their safety is paramount to you, and their home is safe from hazards!
- The Landlords Guide to the Private Rented Sector in 2021.
- Property Insurance.
- Commercial Property Insurance Services in Portsmouth.