2020 has seen significant changes in landlord legislation, especially regarding the electrical safety standards in privately rented accommodation. Although the majority of landlords are very proactive when it comes to ensuring the safety of their tenants, it is essential that these standards are reflected across the whole market. As of 1st July 2020, the rules will be changing in England, when there will be an introduction of new standards of electrical safety. If you are looking to learn about the new electrical safety legislation now in place, as one of the most experienced property management companies in West Sussex, Hancock and Partners is here to help.
What do landlords need to do?
From 1st July 2020, for all new tenancies (and existing tenancies from 1st April 2021), landlords need to ensure that electrical safety inspections are carried out by a qualified and registered electrician. The test should be in accordance with the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations (introduced in January 2019). The electrician should provide landlords with the EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) for the property, which remains valid for up to five years. This report must detail the results of the inspection and the date of the next inspection, which will now need to be conducted every 5 years.
Please note that the legislation and EICR report only covers fixed electrical installations such as the wiring and fuse box, not electrical appliances. It is recommended that landlords have a PAT test (portable appliance testing) for all electrical appliances, although it is not a legal requirement.
The EICR classification of electrical installations
All electrical installations are categorised as either safe or with advisory classifications: C1, C2, FI or C3; codes C1 (danger present), C2 (potentially dangerous) and FI (further investigation necessary) requiring remedy within 28 days for the electrical installation to be deemed satisfactory, whereas a C3 classification recommends improvement although remedial work is not required.
If any breaches are found in the inspection report, further investigations must be carried out within 28 days, or within a shorter period if specified. Once these issues are resolved, written confirmation of the remedial work is required within 28 days of completion to each existing tenant, and to the local authority. If the property still doesn’t meet these requirements, you must repeat the steps above until the property meets the electrical safety standards.
When your electrical system has fully passed the inspection and any urgent remedial work is complete, you will be supplied with an EICR Certificate of Safety, giving you reassurance that your property’s electrics are safe.
How can the local authorities intervene?
The local authority is responsible for enforcement of these regulations, and they have a number of powers to act on this. They can demand sight of the EICR report, which landlords should provide within 7 days of the request or face a penalty. They also have the power to serve a remedial notice if they believe the landlord is breaching regulations, where the landlord has 28 days from the date of the notice is to remedy the breach. Landlords who fail to comply with the regulations may face a civil penalty up to a maximum of £30,000. This penalty can be increased further for a continuing failure.
Who can carry out inspection and testing?
As we have already touched upon, it’s important that the electrician carrying out the inspection and testing is competent to do so. 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.
What else do landlords need to know?
As well as the new standards of electrical testing, there are also new minimum energy efficiency standards which were put in place on 1st April 2020, as landlords will no longer be permitted to let properties with poor energy efficiency ratings. The property rating needs to be at a minimum of E, so any landlords in England and Wales with properties rated F and G could potentially face a fine of up to £5,000. This is something that you need to take into consideration if you are looking to rent a property to new tenants. Please refer to our blog on changing landlord legislation for more information.
Landlords always have a duty of care to their tenants by providing them with a safe property to live in, and this is only reflected further in the new regulations. If you need any advice regarding the new electrical safety requirements, the dedicated Lettings and Property Maintenance teams at Hancock and Partners would be happy to provide you with any additional information you may require. We have decades of experience in the local property market and have the ability to provide you with a complete lettings service designed for landlords who want peace of mind.
Hancock and Partners can help
No matter whether you are a new or experienced landlord, we are here to help. Every one of our senior team is a long-term resident in the area and has extensive knowledge of the local property market and landlord legislation, so you know you are in safe hands. If you would like to have a conversation with our lettings staff, please feel free to call on 01243 531111 and we would be more than happy to help you.