Posted on: 14 April 2021

New Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations

In June 2020, a new regulation came into effect in England pertaining to the safety of electrical systems and equipment for landlords in the privately rented sector.

The goal of these regulations is to improve the safety of all privately rented accommodation in England by ensuring landlords arrange a professional inspection and carry out maintenance of their properties electrical installations.

Requirements for the new regulations

Landlords must adhere to the following requirements to be compliant with the new regulations:

  • National standards for electrical safety must be met.
  • Electrical installations must be inspected and tested by a competent individual every 5 years.
  • The landlord must receive a report from the inspector which includes the date for the next inspection.
  • A copy of the report must be given to tenants within 28 days of the inspection, or prior to a new tenant moving in.
  • A landlord must provide a copy of the report to the local authority within seven days if requested.
  • A copy of the report should be retained to provide to future inspectors.
  • Any remedial work identified in the report should be actioned within 28 days of the report, or sooner if the inspector recommends it.
  • Any work completed on electrics should be confirmed in writing and provided to the tenant or local authority within 28 days.

Which properties are affected?

The regulations apply to all new private tenancies, including shortholds and licences to occupy, which are defined as those tenancies starting from 1st June 2020; the date that the new regulations came into effect.

The regulations will apply to all other private tenancies starting on 1st April 2021.

There are some exceptions to the rules for lodgers, tenants with lease agreements of 7 years or more, student residents and those in care homes. Find a more detailed list here.

Managing an inspection

To be compliant with the regulations, landlords must arrange an inspection from a competent and qualified professional every 5 years.

There is a helpful website that has been set up in the electrical safety industry called Electrical Competent Person that can help you find a qualified, competent electrical professional in your area.

A qualified and competent person doesn’t necessarily need to be part of this scheme, so having your tradesperson sign a checklist to say that they’re qualified is appropriate.

During the inspection, your electrical professional should follow guidelines set out in the 18th Edition of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Wiring Regulations. This will focus their attention on these potential problems:

  • Overloaded installations.
  • Shock risks.
  • Fire hazards.
  • Defective electrical work.
  • Lack of earthing or bondings.

Cookers, refrigerators and TVs don’t come under the regulations, but it is worth having these items checked anyway.

Records of these tests need to be provided to the tenants in order to be compliant with the new regulations.

What to do with your report

When you receive a report from your tradesperson, the first thing you need to do is provide a copy to your tenants. You have 7 days to provide this report, but it is probably best to do it straight away so you don’t have to worry about it in the future.

If requested, you will need to provide the report to your local authority.

Where work is necessary to make installations or applications safe, they will have the following classifications:

  • Code 1 (C1) – Immediate risk or danger of injury. The landlord is responsible for work that needs to be done.
  • Code 2 (C2) – Conditions are potentially dangerous and work should be carried out to fix issues.
  • Code 3 (C3) – Work is not required to be carried out, but work could be done to improve safety.
  • Further Investigation (FI) – This is a serious code and means that landlords must carry out further investigative work as soon as possible.

If work needs to be carried out, landlords must do so within 28 days. If the problem is serious, landlords may have even less time to carry out the work. Once the work has been completed, landlords will have to provide written confirmation to tenants and local authorities within 28 days.

Fines and/or penalties

If a local authority believes that a landlord is not complying with safety standards, they can serve a notice that requires the remedial work to be carried out. If work still isn’t carried out, a local council can arrange for the work to be done and will recoup the costs from the landlord.

If landlords violate the Electrical Safety Standards for Private Rented Properties, they can be fined up to £30,000. These actions can be appealed by landlords within 21 days of receiving the fine. Landlords can then appeal to a first-tier tribunal.

Landlord Insurance with Premierline

Every property owner in the UK, residential landlord or commercial landlord, will have insurance needs unique to them. This is why the insurance advisors at Premierline will assess your insurance requirements and find the right landlord insurance package for you.

Source: Zywave Inc. – Regulatory Update: Electrical Safety Standards for Private Rented Properties

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