Landlords & Home Buyers
Will coronavirus affect the regulations?
You might find it difficult to carry out your safety checks right now, and the government recognises this. For example, if your tenant has been advised to shield or isolate their household, your inspection and test may need to be postponed.
If this is the case, you'll need to show you've taken all reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, even if you're not yet able to complete the inspection, test or any remedial works.
For more guidance on Covid-19, read through the coronavirus landlord support hub.
New electrical safety rules have been introduced to ensure that private tenants are protected
New regulations are designed to strengthen electrical safety practices and bring in line with those already well-established within gas safety regulations in private residential tenancies.
The regulation will initially affect private residential tenancies; affecting new tenancies from 1st July 2020 and those tenancies already in existence from 1st April 2021
The proposal aims to ensure all electrical wiring and fixed electrical installations are signed off and reported by a qualified electrician.
Landlords - your electrical safety obligations
Landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, from fines and invalidated insurance, though not acting on their electrical safety obligations.
The Electrical safety standards in the private rented sector (England) regulations 2020 require that landlords have property electrics checked at least 5 years by a properly qualified person. The electrics must meet standards and landlords must give tenants proof of this.
If the report highlights any issues, the landlord will be required to remedy the issues within 28 days, or potentially face a fine of up to £30,000.
What do the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require?
Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the 'Wiring Regulations', which are published as 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, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
Prepare your property
Ahead of the test, make sure you're clear on where all the relevant installations are, if possible. These will include your fixed electrical parts (such as wiring), socket outlets (or plug sockets), light fittings, consumer unit (or fuse box), and permanently connected equipment like showers and extractors.
Tenants are responsible for making sure their own appliances are safe.
What will happen in the inspection?
- any electrical installations are overloaded
- there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
- there is any defective electrical work
- there is a lack of earthing or bonding - these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations
Landlords must obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) from the person conducting the inspection and test which explains its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work required.
Landlords must then supply a copy of this report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test, to a new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
If a local authority requests it, landlords must supply them with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving the request.
If the report requires remedial work or further investigation, landlords must provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days of completing the work.
Landlords must retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
What will the report show?
The electrical installation should be safe for continued use. In practice, if the report does not require investigative or remedial work, the landlord will not be required to carry out any further work.
Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a landlord must undertake remedial work.
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous.
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory.
If codes C1 or C2 are identified in on the report, then remedial work will be required. The report will state the installation is unsatisfactory for continued use.
If an inspector identifies that further investigative work is required (FI), the landlord must also ensure this is carried out.
The C3 classification code does not indicate remedial work is required, but only that improvement is recommended. Landlords don't have to make the improvement, but it would improve the safety of the installation if they did.
What if I don't do the remedial work?
If a local authority has reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord is in breach of one or more of the duties in the Regulations, they must serve a remedial notice on the landlord requiring remedial action.
Should a landlord not comply with the notice, the local authority may arrange for remedial action to be taken themselves.
The local authority can recover the costs of taking the action from the landlord. The landlord has the right of appeal against a demand for costs.
What if a tenant won't let me in, or I can't find an inspector?
A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.
A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous safety reports.
Urgent remedial action
If the report indicates that urgent remedial action is required, and the landlord has not carried this out within the period specified in the report, the local authority may with the consent of the tenant arrange to carry out remedial work.
The local authority must authorise a qualified and competent person in writing to undertake the remedial action and give at least 48 hours' notice to the tenant.
The costs for carrying out the remedial work can be recovered from the landlord.
What about where tenancies 'rollover' into periodic tenancies? Will that count as a new tenancy?
Whether or not a 'periodic' tenancy is a new tenancy, as defined in Regulation 2, depends on the type of tenancy issued.
- For 'contractual periodic tenancies' - where it is written in the original tenancy agreement that on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy will become periodic - the periodic tenancy will be part of the same tenancy and no new tenancy will be created.
- For 'statutory periodic tenancies' - where on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy rolls over into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute (rather than by contract) - the periodic tenancy will be a new tenancy.
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.
P.S.E Pete Smith Electrical recommends...
- That a visual inspection of the property is conducted between tenancies.
- Making sure that your property has adequate RCD protection.
- Carrying out regular safety checks on the electrical appliances provided as part of the rental agreement.
Home Buyers - Did you Know?...
Research has shown that only 37% of buyers had the electrics checked before the purchase. One in five believed that electrical checks were included in the recommended home survey report and just under half were unaware that checks were needed at all.
Over a third of home buyers then went on to discover electrical problems that they were not aware of before purchase, This is something that can easily be avoided by getting P.S.E Pete Smith Electrical to inspect the electrics and issue an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report).
P.S.E Pete Smith Electrical also offers PAT Testing (portable appliance testing), this is for any appliance that is not hard-wired into the electrics (i.e Cooker, fridge/freezer, washing machine, etc) that might be included in the price of the sale
Contact us today so your not left saying "I can't help thinking that all this could have been avoided if I had just had an Electrical Installation Condition Report done before buying my home"
P.S.E Pete Smith Electrical Offers...
- EICR (Electrical installation condition report)
- PAT testing (Portable appliance testing)