Which rented properties do the Electrical Safety Regulations apply to?
Under the new regulations, which came into force on June 1st, 2020, they apply to new tenancies from July 1st, 2020, and existing tenancies from April 1st, 2021.
The relevant date for determining when the new requirements apply is the date on which the new tenancy is granted. A new tenancy is one that was granted on or after June 1st, 2020.
Suppose a private tenant has a legal right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent. In that case, these new electrical regulations apply. This also includes assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy.
Instructing an electrician to conduct an electrical safety inspection
When commissioning an inspection, to establish if a person is qualified and competent, the landlords and agents can:
- Check if the electrician is a member of a competent person scheme.
- Or require the electrician to sign a checklist certifying their competence, including their experience.
- Check if the electrician has adequate insurance and hold a qualification covering the current version of the Wiring Regulations and the periodic inspection, testing, and electrical installations certification.
The purpose of the electrician report is to confirm as far as possible whether the installation is in a safe condition for continued use.
In a domestic installation, permanently connected fixed current-using equipment, such as hobs, ovens, showers, night storage heaters, extractor fans, fuse box, light fittings and luminaires, is covered by the inspection and testing process.
What electrical certificate do I need?
Private Landlords will be required to provide tenants with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
The checks entail a qualified electrician to check all the circuits from the property’s consumer unit (Fuse Board) and ensure they are safe.
Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 means landlords need to maintain their properties to ensure they are safe and compliant with the new safety standards.
What are the new electrical standards I must comply with?
Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 means the checks must meet the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations.
What tenancies do the electrical safety regulations apply to?
The new regulations apply to residential tenancies where tenants can occupy either all or part of premises as their only or primary residence; they pay rent. It is not listed as an excluded tenancy (detailed below).
These new regulations currently apply to rental properties in England. The rules replace those already in place for HMOs in England.
Do I need to give my tenant a certificate?
You are required under the Electrical Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 to give a copy of the Electrical safety report to your tenants before their tenancy begins.
For any re-inspections of the EICR, landlords must provide tenants, with a copy of the certificate, within 28 days of the inspection.
If your tenant or the local authority requests a copy of the EICR in writing. In that case, you must also provide them with the certificate within 28 days.
Private Landlords who do not comply could face financial penalties for non-compliance.
How often do I need to have an electrical check done?
A standard electrical inspection condition report EICR lasts five years. Note any work required as set out in a remedial notice must be done by a qualified person, including work needed for electrical appliances.
I have an electrical certificate already; do I need to get a new one?
This is unclear now; due to the fact, the 18th edition came out in 2019. The regulations suggest a property should meet the standards of the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations.
This does potential mean most current electrical certificates before the 18th edition may be invalid.
However, according to MHCLG, members should watch out for news regarding this issue. Sign-up for our free newsletter.
Do I need a report on a new statutory periodic tenancy or during the transitional period?
Homes that are let on a statutory periodic tenancy will need an inspection and test under the new electrical Regulations if the fixed term of the tenancy expires between July 2020 and April 2021.
However, statutory periodic tenancies – The Fixed-term tenancies that roll over (after expiry) into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute as opposed to by contract- periodic tenancy is considered a new tenancy.
How much does an electrical check cost?
This depends on the electrician, the property, and the size of the property. The cost could range from £80 to £200.
You could face a civil penalty of up to 30,000 per breach.
The local authorities have the power to enforce the new regulations where a breach has been committed.
Portable appliance testing (PAT) If electrical appliances are provided as part of a tenancy. The law expects them to be kept in a safe condition that will not cause death or harm to the tenant.
The legislation does not set out how private landlords should ensure they do this. PAT testing is always a good practice for landlords, although it is not a legal requirement.
Suppose you have been served with a remedial notice. In that case, remedial action must be taken in accordance with the report issued by a qualified person.
Can I do electrical safety inspections myself?
Landlords must ensure, by law, the following:
The installations in a rented property are safe. You must ensure any appliance provide in the property meets CE marking standards and is safe to use.
Electrical Safety First (ESF) recommends that you conduct visual inspections of your property between tenancy agreements. All electrical work done inside your properties is performed by a registered electrician.
If your property is a standard type of property or a Home in Multiple Occupation (HMO). In that case, all checks must be conducted by a competent, qualified person.
What is the extent of the inspection and testing?
Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Electrical Safety Regulations 2020 stipulates that every installation in the residential premises must be inspected and tested at regular intervals.
What is covered by the term electrical installation?
While the term is not defined within the new regulations, it refers to the definition within the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales.
Which defines an electrical installation as fixed electrical cables or fixed electrical equipment found on the consumer’s side of the electricity supply meter.
The wording suggests that the distributors and supplier’s equipment is not part of the inspection and testing.
However, this is not in keeping with BS 7671:2018+A1:2020 The equipment at the intake position is owned by the distributor, with the meter, meter tails and isolator belonging to the supplier.
However, as part of the inspection process, BS 7671:2018+A1:2020 requires the inspector to inspect the external condition of the distributor’s equipment.
Examples of distributor’s equipment requiring inspection include:
- Service cable · service head · earthing arrangements · meter tails · metering equipment, and · isolators the equipment should be inspected for signs of exposed live parts, damage, or evidence of overheating. If a defect is observed, the person ordering the report should be informed immediately and in writing.
The person’s responsibility is to order the report to inform the distribution network operator (DNO) or supplier.
Does this Regulation apply to Social Housing landlords?
Social housing landlords are covered by several regulations which require electrical safety standards. At the moment, Social Housing landlords do not have to have an electrical safety installation report every 5 years.
Remedial Work and Legal Obligations After a Fixed Wire or Periodic test, you will have received an Electrical Installation Condition report.
If this report (Remedial Notice) contains any C1 or C2 codes or Further Investigation recommendations. In that case, your installation has an elevated level of risk or danger to employees or customers.
You will need to appoint a suitably qualified contractor to immediately complete the remedial work needed to resolve these issues and receive a satisfactory report.
Until the remedial work is completed, your installation is not compliant with Health & Safety legislation.
If your EICR report contained any C3 codes, these are advisory and do not legally require remedial action.
However, it has been identified that part of your electrical installation is no longer up to the legally required standard, and remedial action is recommended.
Penalties for not following electrical standards
Procedure for and appeals against financial penalties:
(1) Before issuing a financial penalty on a private landlord for breach of a duty under regulation 3, a local housing authority must serve a notice on the private landlord of its intention to do so. This notice is known as a “Notice of Intent”.
(2) The Notice of Intent must be served before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the first day on which the authority is satisfied, following regulation 11, that the private landlord is in breach (“the relevant day”), subject to subparagraph (3).
(3) If the breach continues beyond the end of the relevant day, the notice of intent may be served (a) at any time when the breach is continuing; or (c) information about the right to make representations under paragraph 2.
Within 28 days, beginning with the day after the notice of intent was served, the private landlord may make written representations to the local housing authority about the proposal to impose a financial penalty on the private landlord.
Withdrawal or amendment of the notice (a) withdraw a notice of intent or final notice, or (b) reduce the amount specified in the notice of intent or final notice.
(2) The power in sub paragraph (1) is to be exercised by giving notice in writing to the private landlord on whom the notice was served.
When will the electrical installation need inspection and testing again?
The new 2020 regulations require the installation to be inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years. However, this interval may be reduced by the inspector if there are any concerns about the installation.
The requirements of BS 7671:2018+A1:2020, the frequency of periodic inspection and testing of an installation shall be decided regarding the:
- Type of installation and equipment · Use and operation of the installation and equipment · Frequency and quality of maintenance · External influences on which the installation or equipment may be subjected.
The testing aims to reduce the risk of electric shock, risk of injury or death due to dangerous electrical appliances or installation. Dangerous wiring can cause property damage and, in some cases, may invalidate the building insurance policy.
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Author: Amanda Goldsmith [email protected]
Date: 19th of June 2021
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