Electrical Safety Regulations To Come Into Force
The Government has proposed regulations for enforcing mandatory five-year electrical safety checks from July this year. But what does this mean?
What is the Current Law on Electrical Safety?
Landlords are expected to provide a safe property at the start of a tenancy and maintaining it in a safe condition throughout the duration.
This will include making sure that wiring and any electrical appliances provided are not dangerous. Landlords who do not act on their electrical safety obligations are putting tenants at risk of serious accidents or fire. Landlords may also be considered to be negligent.
If your property is a house in multiple occupation, then it is a legal requirement to have an electrical safety inspection performed at intervals of no more than 5 years.
For properties that are not HMO’s, there is currently no legal requirement for regular electrical safety inspections. However, it is recommended that an inspection is carried out by a registered electrician at least every 5 years.
If you are unsure if your property is a house in multiple occupation, please check out our recent article.
New Requirements for Mandatory Electrical Safety Checks:
The Government has proposed detailed regulations for enforcing mandatory five-year electrical safety checks in the private rented sector – The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.
The regulations are awaiting approval from the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they are able to come into force.
What Does this Mean?
From the 1st July 2020, the draft regulations propose that all new private tenancies in England will need to ensure that electrical installations are inspected and tested by a qualified person before the tenancy begins. The landlord will then need to ensure that the installation is inspected and tested at least every 5 years.
Existing tenancies – an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021, with regular tests following this as outlined above.
Local authorities can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for a breach of the regulations. Where there are multiple breaches, the local authority can impose multiple penalties.
Electrical Safety Reports:
The Regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due.
For new tenancies, a copy of the most recent report will need to be given to the new tenant before the tenant occupies the property.
What does an electrical inspection and test involve?
Should be carried out by a fully qualified and registered engineer.
- Find any potential fire hazards or electric shock risks
- Identify any defective electrical work
- Detect any lack of earthing or bonding
- Pinpoint any overloading of electrical circuits or equipment
We are supportive of this concept and believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants. Mandating inspecting and testing of every fixed electrical installation should have a limited impact on good professional landlords and agents in the market, many of whom already voluntarily undertake these inspections. We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline but have received assurances from MHCLG this morning about capacity in the supply chain.