What new electrical safety regulations mean for landlords

Electrical safety

Industry experts have welcomed Government plans to introduce mandatory electrical installation inspections and testing for all rented properties.

The Government has laid The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, meaning landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.

The regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due. 

What are the new electrical safety regulations?

Subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament, landlords and agents will need to ensure inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1 July 2020.

For existing tenancies, the test will need to happen by 1 April 2021 and be followed up by these regular tests.

Richard Rabin

Richard Rabin, director at Lang Town & Country

Ahead of the curve

At Lang Town & Country, we have insisted on electrical safety certificates since we first began trading, as it was considered best practice and took away any chance of a landlord or agent being sued for negligence.

Richard Rabin, Director, says: “We are delighted that the Government has finally brought the electrical legislation in line with the gas regulations that have been compulsory for years.

“As an ARLA member agent, we have insisted on Electrical Safety certificates since we first opened our doors more than 22 years ago.

“This was considered to be best practice and seemed straight forward to us us as reputable agents offering the best advice to our clients. After all, why would a landlord not want to provide the safest property for rental that they possibly can?”

New home

Support for new regulations

David Cox, Chief Executive at ARLA Propertymark, adds: “We are supportive of this concept and believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords, as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants.

“Mandating inspecting and testing of every fixed electrical installation should have a limited impact on good professional landlords and agents in the market, many of whom already voluntarily undertake these inspections.

“We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline, but have received assurances from MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) about capacity in the supply chain.

What happens to those who ignore the regulations?

Upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within seven days. The private landlord must then supply a copy of the last report to any new tenant before occupation, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from the prospective tenant.

The regulations require local housing authorities to enforce the rules, and they have the power to arrange remedial action. Proven breaches of these regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

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