Private Landlords; New electrical safety regulations now in full force

As of 1 June 2020, private Landlords are subjected to more rigorous electrical safety standards in accordance with Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. These regulations apply to new tenancies granted on or after 1 July 2020.

The definition of a new tenancy includes tenancies that are either new, renewed or become statutory periodic tenancies on or after 1 July 2020. All other existing tenancies are caught by these provisions from 1 April 2021.

If a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and they pay rent, the new regulations are applicable. This includes assured shorthold tenancies and licenses to occupy. This further applies to HMOs, if a HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent.

It is important to note there are exceptions which are set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations including social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of 7 years or more, student residence halls, care homes, hospitals and hospices and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.

Although some commentators believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants, others are more sceptical and question whether this is just another well intentioned, but impractical piece of legislation due to the fact that, as according to government statistics published on 4 February 2020 there are approximately 4.5 million private rented sector households, far in excess of the number of electricians available and willing to undertake these additional inspections.

The key requirements for landlords are as follows:

  • Electrical installations in their properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years. A report must be obtained from the person who conducted the inspection and test. The report should lay out the results and set a date for a subsequent inspection and test.
  • ‘Fixed’ electrical parts of the property should be inspected, including the wiring, the socket outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box). This also includes permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors. Electrical appliances such as cookers, fridges and TV’s are not covered by the regulations.
  • A copy of the report must be supplied to an existing tenant within 28 days of being produced. On request, a copy must be provided to a prospective tenant and to the local authority within defined time periods.
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further works are necessary, these works must be completed within 28 days from the date the report was signed off or within a shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
  • Written confirmation of the completion of remedial works from the electrician must be given to the existing tenant within 28 days of completion.
  • A copy of the report should be retained to give to the electrician who will undertake the next inspection and test.

Whilst landlords’ attention might be diverted towards more pressing matters in the current pandemic climate i.e. in attempting to recover any unpaid rent etc. it is important that landlords adhere to the new regulations. Failure to do so can attract a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

Please see helpful links below to government’s guidance on this:

For more information contact the Housing Management team via our contact form