From today (1 June 2020), the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 are now in force. The Regulations apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.
To accompany the Regulations coming into force, Government have produced specific guidance on the Regulations for landlords, as well as guidance for tenants and local authorities:
Government recognise that the majority of landlords are already proactive in ensuring the safety of their tenants and regularly inspect the electrical installations in their properties, so these Regulations require all landlords to do what the majority of good landlords are already doing. Landlords of privately rented accommodation must now:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
- Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
- Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
- Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
- Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
- Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
How do I find a ‘qualified and competent person’ to carry out the test?
Guidance has been produced by the electrical safety industry that covers how landlords can choose a qualified and competent inspector and tester. This includes, but is not limited to:
What will be inspected and tested?
The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket-outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box) will be inspected. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors.
What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?
The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations. Government recommend that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide and then supply tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried out as good practice. Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.
How can I comply with these regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Government have issued revised guidance to landlords and tenants which gives specific detail about complying with safety and standards requirements during this difficult time (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities). Local authorities are being advised to take a common-sense, pragmatic and risk-based approach to enforcement.