New Regulations for Electrical Safety Standards in PRS

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The government has published new guidance setting out how the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 affect landlords, tenants and local authorities.

Coming into force on 01 June 2020, the regulations will apply to new tenancies from 01 July 2020 and to existing tenancies from 01 April 2021. This guidance forms part of the government’s drive to improve safety in all residential properties and particularly in the private rented sector. As part of the new regulations, landlords will need to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and test every 5 year by a qualified and competent professional. Landlords must in turn provide their tenants with a copy of the electrical safety report, and to the local authority as well if requested.

Landlord requirements

The new 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.

Inspections

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.

Remedial work

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.

Financial penalties

Local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties.


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