NEW ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR LANDLORDS OF PRIVATE RENTED ACCOMMODATION
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1st June 2020 and impose duties on private landlords (including landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation) with regard to electrical safety.
From 1st July 2020 the regulations will apply to all new tenancies and from 1st April 2021 to all existing tenancies. Therefore for any landlords intending to issue new tenancies from 1st July there is a month to ensure the regulations have been complied with. It is estimated that over 75% of landlords will already have electrical safety certificates as there is already a general duty under the Housing Act 2004 (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) to ensure electrical safety and also a specific duty that all houses in multiple occupation have a current electrical inspection report. The new regulations state that landlords must: 1. Ensure electrical safety standards are met during the period of a residential tenancy (certain tenancies are excluded such as registered social housing, long leases, care homes, hostels etc).
2. Ensure that every electrical installation is inspected and tested at regular intervals. Regular intervals means no more than 5 years or less if specified on an existing report.
3. Ensure the first inspection and testing is carried out either (i) before a new tenancy commences as from 1st July 2020 or (ii) by 1 st April 2021 for all existing tenancies.
4. Obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report) which gives the results of the inspection and test, and date of next inspection and test.
5. Supply a copy of the report to each existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection date.
6. Supply a copy of the report to the Council within 7 days of a written request.
7. Retain a copy of the report to give to the person carrying out the next inspection and test.
8. Supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant before the tenant occupies the property.
9. Supply a copy of the most recent report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a written request from them.
10. Any further investigative or remedial work indicated in the report must be done by a qualified person within 28 days or less as specified (starting with the date of the report) and upon completion of that work written evidence to be supplied to each tenant and to the local Council. The Council is the enforcement authority for these regulations and must serve a Remedial Notice where the landlord is in breach of his duties (unless urgent work is required – see below). This will be served on the landlord and there will be a period of 21 days in which the landlord can make representations to the Council. Any representation received must be decided within 7 days. The Remedial Notice can be extended or withdrawn as appropriate. If the landlord does not comply with the Remedial Notice, the Council can take remedial action themselves and arrange for works to be done following service of a further notice notifying the landlord. There is an appeal process available to the First Tier Tribunal. The Council can recover costs of works carried out from the landlord. Councils are also able to impose a financial penalty on a landlord for breach of duty and the Council will determine the amount but not exceeding £30 000. The Council may also take urgent remedial action if satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a landlord is in breach of his /her duty to do remedial or investigative work and the tenant(s) consent to the Council taking such action. In these cases Notice will be served on the private landlord and all occupiers or notice fixed to the building within 7 days of the work commencing. Occupiers will be given a minimum of 48 hours notice from the approved contractor. The Council’s costs are recoverable from the landlord.
Government guidance has been issued and can be found here hiips://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical -safety-standards-in-the-private-rentedsector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safetystandards-in-the-private-rented-sector Covid 19 - Please note that landlords should make every effort to comply with these requirements for new lettings as from 1st July 2020. The requirement to ensure electrical safety standards are met during any residential tenancy is in force from 1st June (and is also a requirement under the Housing Act 2004 as mentioned above). If reasonable attempts to obtain an inspection and test report have been made for example the tenant is refusing access or is shielding/self-isolating due to coronavirus this will be taken into account. The Health and Safety Executive have given advice on reasonable attempts for access for gas safety inspections and suggest 3 attempts is acceptable.