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Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Mandatory Electrical Testing – What You Need to Know

From Robert Ulph on January 24, 2020

It is expected that within the coming weeks new regulations around electrical testing will be approved by the House of Commons and the Lords, which could mean fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance.

The new regulations, which we have been expecting, means that landlords and agents will need to ensure that electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1st July 2020 and from 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies.

The introduction of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 means landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person. It is the responsibility of agents and landlords to ensure that any inspectors hired to issue an electrical installation condition report (EICR) hold the correct qualifications and are competent to carry out the inspection.

The regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test and retain a copy until the next inspection is due. They must also supply a copy of the report to any new tenant before occupation, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from the prospective tenant.

In terms of monitoring this, the regulations require local housing authorities to enforce the rules within the private rented sector and upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within seven days. They then have the power to arrange any remedial action that is required and proven breaches of the Regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

These additional safety measures make sense to many in the industry and many landlords carry these out already. It is certainly welcomed that inspectors will be required to hold the correct qualification and level of competency, as it would make sense for any safety check, like those for gas. There is some concern however that there are enough qualified practioners for the amount of work which is being introduced in July this year.

“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,” commented David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark.

“Mandating electrical testing 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 (The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) about capacity in the supply chain.”

If you need any advice on what this means for you as a landlord and how to get the testing carried out or about any other property issues you have, please do not hesitate to contact me.