The UK Government has finally released official guidance on the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.
We reported earlier in the year about plans to introduce mandatory electrical installation inspections and testing for all rented properties.
This latest announcement means that private landlords, if they were not already doing so, MUST now ensure the following:
- Electrical safety standards are met when the property is occupied during a tenancy.
- Every fixed electrical installation at the property is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.
- The first inspection and testing are carried out before new tenancies commence on or after 1st July 2020 and by 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies.
What we think about the new regulations
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 taken the decision to make Electrical Safety checks compulsory.
“We, as a company, insisted on Electrical Safety Certificates to be carried out anyway as we have always taken safety as our number one concern.
“Being a member of ARLA Propertymark, their advice has always been the same in the interests of best practice.
“I must admit, however, that the timing of this could have been thought through a little better.”
What is meant by Electrical Safety Standards?
Under the new regulations, electrical safety standards mean that the inspection and test of the installation is carried out in accordance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations BS 7671:2018 (the national standard to which all domestic wiring must conform).
What if I have an existing Electrical Safety Standards report?
As a landlord, if you have obtained a satisfactory Electrical Installation Safety Report which is less than five years old, you should review the report to see what was recommended on it and consider how the property has been let since it was carried out.
If there have been big differences to the property, then it is recommended that you get another check done.
If no changes have been made, then the report will remain valid until your next inspection date is specified.
Which tenancy types do the Electrical Safety Standards Regulations cover?
The new regulations apply to all tenancies apart from those which are listed as excluded tenancies.
They include social housing, shared accommodation with a landlord or landlord’s family, long leases, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals, and hospices, as well as other accommodation relating to healthcare provision.
Do the Electrical Safety Standards Regulations apply to Houses of Multiple Occupation?
Yes, if a Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent, then these regulations apply to the property.
Furthermore, these regulations will now replace the previous legislation which set requirements on HMO landlords.
Do the Electrical Safety Standards Regulations apply to new-build properties?
The new regulations state that all rented properties – even new-build homes – should have their electrical installations tested every five years.
The Electrical Installation Certificate will certify that electrics are safe when they are put into service, but it will not identify any damage, deterioration, or defects that take place subsequently.
After five years of use as a rented property, the UK Government believes that it is sensible to ask landlords (providing they have not been living in the property) to ensure that the electrical installation is still safe.
Who is able to carry out these checks?
Any electrical inspector employed to undertake the electrical inspection and testing within the property must have the following:
- Adequate insurance – This should include at least £2m public liability insurance and £250,000 professional indemnity insurance.
- A qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671).
- A qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing, and certification of electrical installations.
- At least two years’ experience in carrying out periodic inspection and testing
For more information visit www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk or www.napit.org.uk/member-search.aspx
Are the new Electrical Safety Standards Regulations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The UK Government recognises that the restrictions imposed by current measures to minimise the infection risks from COVID-19 may make carrying out electrical safety checks more difficult, for example where households are isolating or where an individual has been advised to shield.
Under such circumstances, provided the landlord can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to comply, they would not be in breach of their legal duties.