Electrical Safety Standards

electrical safety

As just about anyone and everyone in our letting departments both front office and support teams will be testament to, the Electrical Safety Standards for the private rented sector in England came into force on 1 June 2020 and has created a lot of additional work to ensure our Landlords are compliant and safe.

The new rules have been the subject of much discussion as the “dot Gov” guidance is interpreted, especially from Landlords.  ARLA Propertymark have therefore put together some helpful further guidance to provide further help to its members which is detailed below. 

Who does it apply to? 

Any new Fixed Term tenancy that starts on or after 1 July 2020 will need to adhere to electrical safety standards.

For existing tenancies, you have until 1 April 2021.

Landlords should be aware that because the rules came into force on 1 June 2020 this means that tenancies signed on or after 1 June 2020, which start on or after 1 July 2020 should comply with the regulations.

What about renewed tenancies?

A renewed Fixed Term tenancy is a new tenancy, therefore from 1 July renewed fixed term tenancies will need to adhere to electrical safety standards. 

What about Statutory Periodic tenancies?

A tenancy that ends and is renewed as a Statutory Periodic tenancy is classed as a new tenancy and from 1 July will need to adhere to electrical safety standards.

What about Contractual Periodic tenancies?

Contractual Periodic tenancies that state that a rolling monthly tenancy will commence at the end of the fixed term are considered the same tenancy, therefore you have until 1 April to adhere to electrical safety standards.

Which tenancies?

All tenancies in residential properties unless they are excluded tenancies. This includes:

·         Assured Shorthold Tenancies

·         Assured Tenancies

·         Non-housing act tenancies

Examples of excluded tenancies are:

Social housing, Shared accommodation with a landlord or landlord’s family, Long leases, Student halls of residence, Hostels and refuges, Care homes.

What are the electrical safety standards?

All fixed electrical cables and equipment will need an inspection and test by a qualified person in accordance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations.  This includes appliances that are fixed directly to the electrical supply, such as showers or fitted kitchen appliances.

Once a qualified person has carried out their inspection and tests, they will provide an Electrical Installation Safety Report.

What is an Electrical Installation Safety Report?

This is a report that will include the results of the inspection and test and will state the date for the next inspection and test. Typically, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is the type of safety report you will receive, however, there are alternatives.

What is a qualified person?

Someone who is competent to undertake the inspection, testing and any remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards. Usually this person will be part of a competent persons scheme, for example NAPIT or NICEIC.

What do I need to do to once I have the Electrical Installation Safety Report?

·         Supply a copy to each existing tenant of the property within 28 days of the inspection and test.

·         Supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant before they move in.

·         Supply a copy of the most recent report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving the request.

·         Retain a copy of the report until the next inspection and supply it to the qualified person carrying out the inspection.

·         When requested, supply a copy to the local authority within seven days.

How long does the Electrical Installation Safety Report last?

Under the regulations, every fixed electrical installation at the property must be inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.

What happens if the electrical installation needs further work to meet the standards?

This is called remedial work and should be carried out by a qualified person within 28 days of the report, or the period specified in the report if less than 28 days.

Once completed you should receive written confirmation from the qualified person that the remedial work has been carried out. This will then need to be sent with a copy of the report to the existing tenant. It’s the remedial work that can cause delays in moving in the tenants. We have seen some EICR reports coming back with many thousand pounds worth of repairs and in some case properties requiring a total rewire. Encouraging Landlords to get the EICR as soon as the property is on the market is advisable. They cannot let the property without it and the sooner they are aware of any issues the more time they will have to get additional quotes for remedial works.

Does my electrical installation need to comply with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations?

No. Not if it is still deemed to be safe. Landlords with existing reports should check these reports and contact the inspector in order to decide whether the electrical installation complies with electrical safety standards.

If my certificate says 10 years, do I still need to renew every five years?

If an existing certificate was done longer than five years ago, regardless of whether it is valid for 10 years, it will not be applicable for these regulations. Consequently, to comply with the electrical safety standards the existing EICR must be less than five years old (dated back five years from when the tenancy agreement was signed). This is where we are seeing Landlords kick back a little as they were not anticipating this element. Explaining that the new regulations have different standards to comply with is normally a lengthy conversation – be prepared for it.

What about new build properties or new electrical installations?

If a property is newly built or has been completely rewired, it should have an Electrical Installation Certificate known as an EIC.

Landlords can provide a copy of the EIC to tenants and, if requested, the local authority. The landlord will then not be required to carry out further checks or provide a report for 5 years after the EIC has been issued, as long as they have complied with their duty or duties under the Regulations.

What is the penalty for breaching the rules?

Local authorities can issue a fine up to £30,000. Before imposing a financial penalty, the local authority must serve a Notice of Intent within six months from when the landlord is in breach outlining the amount, reasons and right to appeal.