The government has updated official guidance to reflect that the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 are now applicable to all existing tenancies as of 1 April 2021.
Under the regulations, which were introduced in July last year, landlords must have property electrics checked at least every 5 years by a properly qualified person. The electrics must meet standards and landlords must give their tenants proof of this.
Requirements for landlords
The regulations are a legal requirement for all landlords in the private rented sector, under which they must:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
- Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
- Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
- Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
- Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
- Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
The inspection must look at the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, such as wiring, socket-outlets (plug sockets), light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box). permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors must also be included. Only fixed electrical installations are covered, tenants are personally responsible for the safety of electrical appliances.
The inspection will seek to determine if:
- any electrical installations are overloaded
- there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
- there is any defective electrical work
- there is a lack of earthing or bonding – these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations
Obtaining an Electrical Inspection Report
The report will show if electrical installation is be safe for continued use. In practice, the landlord will not be required to carry out any further work if the report does not require investigative or remedial work. Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a landlord must undertake remedial work.
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous.
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory.
If the report shows that remedial work or further investigation is required, as set out above, landlords must complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report. Landlords must then provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days.
Local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties.