A Looming Deadline
Regular readers may remember our original resource post from June last year about the Electrical Safety Standards in Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations.
These regulations have been introduced in two parts requiring landlords to obtain tests and reports depending on where they are at with their tenancy.
In a nut-shell the first date for compliance was the 1st July 2020 which was for any tenancies that started on or after that date and the second date for compliance is the 1st April 2021.
With this date now just around the corner we thought we would remind landlords of their obligations under the regulations.
The 1st April deadline is the date by which point all rented properties need to have a valid test and report carried out on the fixed electrical installation. After this date it will be a breach not to have had a test done with a penalty of up to £30,000 for non-compliance.
The test can be carried out by a competent electrician who will assess the safety of the electrics using the latest safety standards (18th Edition of the British Standards BS 7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations.).
A report will detail whether any works are required, and these are categorised as codes, C1 danger present, C2 potentially dangerous and C3 improvement recommended and FI Further Investigation. The codes will determine if the report is satisfactory or unsatisfactory with the presence of C1 and C2’s indicating it is unsatisfactory.
Where you have a satisfactory report you need to provide a copy of that report to your tenant and if they haven’t already, before they move in.
Where the report indicates the installation is unsatisfactory this will be because there are a number of C1’s and C2’s. This means you must get these items addressed.
Under the regulations you have 28 days in which to have the work done and provide evidence of this work to the tenant and the local authority.
Here are some common questions we have been asked since the regulations were introduced.
If I have a C1 or C2 code and an unsatisfactory report can I move a tenant in?
A C1 shows there is an imminent danger so you should not allow a tenant to move in. To do so would be to put the tenant at risk and cross into other regulation and legislation including the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act and Defective Premises Act. You may also find your insurance is invalid. You should get the work done before you let the tenancy start.
Where there are C2’s you can allow the tenancy to start but you must ensure the works are done within 28 days of the test.
I can’t find an electrician to do the test. Will I be OK if I can’t get it done before the 1st April 2021?
The short answer is no. You will be in breach of the regulations if you already have a tenant living in the property, or you allow a tenancy to start.
My tenant is nervous about letting an electrician visit because of Covid. Will I be exempt?
Unfortunately not, even if it is outside of your control. You should ask your tenant to confirm in writing that they are not allowing access and make sure you keep records of your attempt to arrange an appointment. Whilst you will still be in breach of the regulations this will help in any defence.
The house was rewired 10 years ago. I don’t agree the electrics are unsafe, so I do not see the need to do the work. Do I have to do it?
Yes. The electrician is deemed to be competent and qualified. Don’t forget they are working to the latest edition of the British Safety Standards so it is not unusual for some of the existing work not to meet today’s standards.
The quote for the upgrades are far too high. Can I shop around for other quotes?
You do not have to use the same electrician to do any of the upgrades but keep in mind that you only have 28 days from the date of the report to do the work. The more time you spend obtaining quotes, the less time you have to get the work done.
There was a report done in 2018, do I have to have a new one?
The regulations require you to have a test and report done at no later than five yearly intervals, so if you have had one done in the last five years then this is sufficient.
Do I need any work done by the 1st April as well as the report?
As long as the report is done by the 1st April then the work can be done after, although it must be done within 28 days.
If you have any questions regarding the new standards please do contact us for further advice. We’d be happy to help.
Please note the date this article was published as the law may have changed since it was posted. You should always seek independent legal advice if you are intending to rely on any of the contents.
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