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Landlord legislation: Raising electrical standards!

If you are a landlord of a residential property, you should be aware that the electrical installations in your rental properties must be inspected and tested at least every five years.

The Regulations came into force on 1st June 2020 (The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Sector (England) Regulation 2020). The pressure has now increased again as many landlords try to meet the 1st April deadline for existing tenancies as imposed by the Regulations.

What does this mean for Landlords?

All landlords must ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are safe or they risk facing heavy fines.

The Regulations require a number of tasks to be completed, including:

  • Commissioning a report from a suitably qualified individual conducting the inspection and test, which outlines the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test;
  • Supplying a copy of report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection test;
  • Supplying the local authority with a copy of the report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy;
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, completing this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report; and
  • Supplying written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the work.

This is a demanding ‘to do’ list and one which landlords simply cannot ignore.

Who do the Regulations apply to?

The Regulations came into force last year, but they apply to:

  • New tenancies from 1 July 2020; and
  • Existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

We have seen an increase in enquires from landlords who are unsure of the requirements and are trying their best to ensure that they meet the 1 April 2021 deadline.

Guidance is provided by the electrical safety industry and explains how landlords can choose a qualified and competent inspector and tester. It is advisable to read this guidance or at least seek some advice if you are at all unsure. In particular, the electrical safety industry has established competent person schemes which are a great starting point for anyone who is treading water.

What does the inspection achieve?

The inspection is an opportunity for your chosen contractor to find out if there are any hazards, defective electrical works, or if electrical installations are overloaded. The findings of the inspection are reported to you and as a landlord, your next steps will be determined by what emerges from the report!

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances but apply only to the fixed electrical installations in the property. If you have any concerns about the safety of electrical appliances, then it is recommended that portable appliance testing (PAT) is carried out on a regular basis.

Report

Once the electrical inspection has taken place, the landlord will be supplied with a report which is often referred to as an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR. These reports can often be difficult to interpret but again, it is important to ensure that the tests have been satisfactory because if there are any further investigations or remedial works required, then these need to be completed within 28 days. The timeframes are tight!

Failure to Comply – Penalties

It is very important that these Regulations are not put to one side, neglected or disregarded. If there is a failure to fulfil these requirements, local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties.

There are of course other issues which can arise such as access to the property, the type of tenancy to which the Regulations apply and so on.

How can Emsleys help?

We offer ‘fully managed’ and ‘let only’ services for landlords. Our team can manage electrical inspections and testing on your behalf – this is included as part of our Gold and Silver packages and is an optional add-on for our Bronze and ‘let only’ services.

Whatever your question might be, our experts are on hand to answer your queries and to guide you through this ‘electric’ development. Please contact our Lettings team on 0113 264 2642 or email lettings@emsleysestateagents.co.uk.

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Gurpreet Birdi

Written by

Gurpreet Birdi

Associate Director & Solicitor

Gurpreet is an Associate Director at our sister company Emsleys Solicitors. She is a solicitor specialising in Dispute Resolution, with specific expertise in landlord and tenant disputes.