New requirements on electrical safety for private landlords

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New legislation comes into force on 1 June 2020 which imposes obligations on private landlords to ensure that their rented residential properties meet electrical safety standards.

The snappily named – ‘Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020’ – will apply to all new tenancies from 1 July 2020, and thereafter, to all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

Landlord’s obligations

  1. General obligation to ensure rented properties comply with electrical safety standards during any period that they are occupied.
  2. Regular testing by a qualified person, of all electrical installations in the residential premises. Regular testing means at least every 5 years unless an electrical safety report advises more frequent testing. As of 1 June 2020, the first inspection and electrical testing must be done before the tenancy commences (where it is a new tenancy) or by 1 April 2021 (where it is an existing tenancy).
  3. Send a copy of the report to all existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection/test. Where the tenancy commences after 1 June 2020, the most recent report must be supplied to the new/prospective tenant before they occupy the property.

The landlord should keep a copy of the report as it will need to be provided at the next inspection. In the interim, it will be needed to supply to new tenants or a local authority can request a copy to ensure the landlord is complying with the regulations.

Remedial works

If, upon inspection, the landlord is found to be in breach of his duty and remedial works are required, the landlord must do the works within 28 days of the inspection, or less where the report gives a shorter timescale.

When the works are complete, the landlord must obtain written confirmation from a qualified person, that the works have been done and that the electrical safety standards are met. This can then be supplied to the tenant within 28 days.

What if you don’t comply?

Local Authorities may serve a remedial notice upon a landlord, requiring works be undertaken within 28 days from the date the notice is served.

If a landlord fails to comply with a notice, the local authority, with the consent of the tenant, can undertake the required works, recover the costs from the landlord and impose a fine on the landlord of up to £30,000.

So if you’re a private landlord with tenants already in occupation, you have until 1 April 2021 to get the electrical safety of the property inspected. If you don’t currently have a tenant in then you need to get the test done before you can start a new tenancy.

If you need any specific help or advice on your position then please contact any member of our Real Estate Dispute Resolution team.