Since 1st April this year, all tenancies in England have been covered by the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. As the name suggests, the regulations set out electrical safety requirements for private sector landlords.
The regulations apply to all standard tenancies
Schedule 1 of the regulations sets out a list of exemptions to these regulations. Probably the only one of interest to landlords is the one relating to lodgers. It is, however, worth noting that short-term lets are effectively excluded from these requirements. This is because it is considered to be commercial property rather than private rented property.
New-build properties are guaranteed to be compliant
All new-build properties (and rewired properties) should come with an Electrical Installation Certificate giving them a clean bill of electrical health. This is valid for five years after the date of issue.
Houses in Multiple Occupation are covered by the regulations
The new regulations supersede the electrical safety requirements set out in The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. The regulations also amend The Housing Act 2004 to make compliance with these regulations a requirement of HMO licencing.
The regulations mandate electrical testing every five years
More accurately, the regulations mandate electrical testing at least every five years. Landlords are perfectly free to test more often if they so wish. For example, they could do so during a change of tenancy.
Tests must be carried out by a “qualified and competent” person. Landlords must supply a copy of the test report to existing tenants within 28 days of it being completed.
They must also supply a copy to any new tenants within 28 days of them moving into the property. If requested, they must provide a copy to potential tenants and/or to their local authority.
The report must be made available to the person who next inspects the property. The next inspection must be undertaken by the date specified on the current report.
Any remedial work must be undertaken promptly
Remedial work (and further investigation) must be undertaken in at most 28 days. If the report specifies a shorter period for compliance, then the landlord must respect this. The landlord must provide their tenants and local authority with documentary proof that the remedial work has been completed. This must be provided within 28 days of completion of the works.
Landlords only have to act on hazards identified as:
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous.
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.
Inspectors may also issue Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Landlords do not have to act on this to satisfy the regulations. They may, however, need to act on it to satisfy their insurers.
Finding a ‘qualified and competent person’
The electrical safety industry is now offering competent person schemes. Membership of these is, however, voluntary. At present, it is unclear how many electricians will sign up for them. Landlords can also request an electrician self-certify their competency. They can do this by making a signed declaration of their qualifications, experience and insurance.
Simon Hardingham is the sales manager of Manchester estate agents; Indlu. Indlu 3 months free full management on property lettings as well as a free rental valuation tool to find out how much your house is worth.