Landlords & Home Buyers

New Smoke Alarm Regulations for Rented Homes in Wales

From 15th July 2022, the Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations come into force. All landlords in Wales will need to ensure their properties meet the new legislation in order to be classified as fit for human habitation. New rules on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are stipulated as part of the regulations. So, what does this mean for landlords in Wales? 

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rented properties in Wales

To comply with the new smoke alarm regulations, landlords must ensure all rented properties have a minimum of:

  • At least one hard-wired smoke alarm (mains powered) on each level of the home
  • All hard-wired alarms must be interlinked, either via a wireless radio-interlinking system or a wired interlinking system
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fuel-burning appliance (gas, oil, or solid fuel)
  • A heat alarm in the kitchen 

What is the deadline for complying with the new Welsh regulations?

For smoke alarms, where there is already a tenancy in place on 15th July 2022, landlords will have until 15th July 2023 to comply with the new smoke alarm regulations. If a new tenancy starts after the 15th July 2022 deadline, smoke alarms must meet the new requirements at the start of the tenancy. The regulations for providing a CO alarm in each room with a fuel-burning appliance are applicable in all rental homes regardless of tenancy agreements from 15th July 2022.

Which alarms do I need for my rental property in Wales?

Landlords need to provide mains-powered smoke alarms that are interlinking on each level of the rental home. Carbon monoxide alarms should also be provided.

Who is responsible for the alarms once they are installed?

Under the new smoke alarm regulations in Wales, landlords are responsible for maintaining and replacing smoke alarms when necessary. It is important to note the date of alarm installation and when the alarm will require replacing. Smoke alarm sensors usually have a lifespan of 10 years (always check the manufacturer's instructions), after which they become less effective. Landlords are not responsible for testing the smoke alarms.

Do hard-wired smoke alarms need to be installed by an electrician?

Yes. Hard-wired smoke alarms need to be installed by an electrician.

What is the penalty for not complying with the new smoke alarm rules?

The regulations have been updated to protect the safety of tenants. Radio-interlinked alarms alert residents sooner, allowing more time to escape in an emergency. Mains-powered alarms give more certainty to tenants and landlords than battery-powered alarms. Under the new Fitness of Homes for Human Habitation legislation, any property that is not fitted with compliant smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be deemed as not fit for human habitation. Until this is resolved, the tenant would not be required to pay rent.

EICR-Electrical Installation Condition Report

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?

The inspection will find out if: 
  • 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

The Report

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.

Pete Smith Electrical Services 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 Pete Smith Electrical Services to inspect the electrics and issue an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report).

Pete Smith Electrical Services 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 you're 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" 

Pete Smith Electrical Services Offers...

  • EICR (Electrical installation condition report)
  • PAT testing (Portable appliance testing)

Contact us ...........