- Electrical installations must be inspected and tested prior to the start of a new tenancy from 1st July 2020.
- Checks must be carried out on any existing tenancies by 1st April 2021.
For additional information on landlord requires on electrical testing including PAT testing, visual inspections and electrical condition reports https://www.arla.co.uk/news/january-2020/electrical-safety-regulations-to-come-into-force.aspx
What are my responsibilities as the landlord of a property in England?
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 places a continuous duty on landlords in England to maintain their property to the electrical safety standards and to have evidence of this. This means your property must meet the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations and you must have a report that shows this from a qualified person.
My property was deemed safe during an inspection under the previous Wiring Regulations. Do I need to get a new EICR or perform works to bring the property up to the 18th Edition standards even if my property is safe?
Our previous guidance on this highlighted that the regulations as written could mean existing EICRs were not considered sufficient. We advised our members to wait for further guidance from the Government on this matter for clarity, as we were confident that this was not the intention of the regulations, and that we had contacted MHCLG to raise our concerns and clarify the matter.
What are my responsibilities as a landlord of a property in Wales?
As a general rule, landlords are expected to provide a safe property at the start and throughout their tenancy. This includes making sure the wiring, fuse boxes, etc are not dangerous. As such, for all landlords a regular visual inspection of the property to identify any potential issues with the electrical system is always a good idea.
If you fail to do this, and a problem arises in the property, then you may be considered negligent if the tenants are harmed or suffer damage to their own goods.
In addition, if you have a house in multiple occupation (HMO) you are required to have an electrical installation condition report (EICR) performed every 5 years. It is also recommended for properties that are not HMOs but it is not a legal requirement.
The Government has now published this guidance.
It confirms that EICRs performed prior to the 18th Edition but less than five years old will be considered valid for the purposes of this regulation.
In addition to this the guidance is clear that further work will only be required where the inspection demands further remedial or investigative work. If the certificate only recommends improvements (classification code C3) this is considered best practice but not a requirement.
When do I need to have an inspection performed by?
If you are renting out a property in England and the tenancy was entered into on or after the regulations came into force (1 June 2020), then from 1 July 2020 you will be required to have an electrical inspection and a report on the condition of the property (EICR) performed by a qualified person.
Renewals in this case include statutory periodic tenancies that are created at the end of a fixed term on or after this date.
For pre-existing tenancies, you will need to have an EICR performed on all existing tenancies before 1 April 2021.
If you have a lodger or you are letting out the property on a long lease (7 years or more) you are not required to have an EICR performed.
Who do I need to give copies of the EICR to?
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 set out a number of different requirements around providing copies of the EICR to relevant people:
- The EICR must be given to all of the tenants before they occupy the property.
- When you replace the EICR you must provide them with a copy of the new report within 28 days of the inspection.
- If a tenant requests a copy of the EICR in writing, you must also provide them with one within 28 days.
- Where the local authority requests the EICR you must provide them with a copy of it within seven days or face potential penalties.
- Any prospective tenants who request a copy in writing must be provided one within 28 days.
How often do I need to replace the EICR?
The standard EICR lasts 5 years but this can be shorter so you should replace it as often as needed to ensure it remains valid.
My EICR has indicated a potential breach of the electrical safety standards. What do I do next?
If a breach, or a potential breach, of your duty has been identified you need to have a qualified person either perform the work or investigate further within 28 days. This time limit can be shortened if the report recommends it so you should ensure you are complying with the time frame in the report itself.
Once this has been done you need to ensure you are receiving a written report from the qualified person as quickly as possible. This report needs to state that the electrical safety standards are now being met or that further remedial work is required.
Within 28 days of the work or investigation being carried out you must provide the written confirmation as well as a copy of the report to all of the tenants and the local authority.
Where the follow up investigation recommends further work being done, you must repeat the steps above until the property meets the electrical safety standards.
What is a qualified person?
The qualified person is someone who is competent to perform the inspections or the works.
The simplest way of identifying a competent person would be to refer to someone with the qualifications laid out in the recent update to the Electrotechnical Assessment Specifications. This includes people with industry recognised apprenticeships or Level 3 Certificates in Level 3 Certificate in Installing, Testing and Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings. For more information please contact our lettings team today on 02089031002.