Electrical Safety Standards
It has always seemed an oddity to us Letting Agents that Electrical Safety Checks have not been a mandatory requirement in the same way that Gas Safety Records are.
Many a time we have been asked by Landlords to market properties that have aging fixed wiring. This is particularly the case in situations where elderly relatives have gone into care and the family are looking to rent the property. It is sometimes many years since any improvements were done on these types of homes.
From 1st June 2020 Safety Checks will become mandatory. Landlords are not always known for their enthusiasm towards changes to the sector but this has been welcomed with open arms. To be fair, we have always advised Landlords that it is best practice for to hold a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and the majority follow that advice.
So, what does it all mean in practice? Here comes the technical stuff…
In the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the Government made provisions to introduce Electrical Safety Standards in rented properties and it seems now that they have finally got around to writing the Regulations for this. Normally much fan fair is made of changes in the Private Rented Sector but the announcement in January of the draft legislation for The Electrical Safety in Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 caught many in the Industry by surprise.
The Regulations have now been passed and will come into force on the 1st June 2020. This means that you will need a current satisfactory EICR in order to be able to rent your property. Importantly this will apply to all new tenancies (including renewals or tenancies that become statutory periodic) granted on or after the 1st July 2020 and then in the second phase, for all existing tenancies from the 1st April 2021.
You will need to supply your tenants with a copy of the report before the tenancy starts or within 28 days for existing tenants. Reports will last for five years at which point they will need to be done again. The report will be “unsatisfactory” where they do not meet the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018. Codes are used on a report to indicate whether the wiring requires work to bring it up to standard and these are C1, C2, C3 and FI (Further Investigation). A report will be unsatisfactory where there are C1, C2 or FI’s noted.
Where the installation requires remedial action or further investigation a Landlord will then have up to 28 days in which to carry out the works, and a further 28 days to supply the tenant with confirmation that the works have been done.
Fines for non-compliance can be up to £30,000 and the Local Authority can serve remedial notices, and even carry out the works themselves at the Landlords cost.
Top marks for getting to the end! We appreciate that is heavy reading.
We would as always be happy to give further guidance on this to any Landlords in need.
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.All resources & news