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One year on for electrical regulations

From Robert Ulph on July 30, 2021

 

Last July new electrical regulations came into force in the private rented sector, but with some continued disruption from Covid-19 and the backlogs it has caused, I am often asked what does this mean for landlords staying the right side of the legislation and avoiding hefty penalties?

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into effect last July for all new tenancies and for all existing tenancies this had to be in place by 1st April 2021. For properties with an existing report less than five years old, the report should have been reviewed to see if any changes to the property mean a further test is needed or if the report will remain valid until the next inspection date.

The regulations mean that private landlords must ensure that electrical safety standards are met when the property is occupied during a tenancy, so that every fixed electrical installation at the property is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.

Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must obtain a report from the engineer who carried it out to have the results and the date of the next inspection. They must supply a copy of the report to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of the inspection and supply a copy of the report to the local housing authority within seven days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority.

The landlord must also retain a copy of the report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test. They must also supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant before the tenant moves in and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it.

Where the report shows remedial or further investigative work is needed, this must be completed within 28 days or within the period specified in the report if sooner and supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the engineer to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

Failure by a Landlord to comply with the Regulations may result in a penalty of up to £30,000.

There is recognition that the effects of lockdown on backlogs and the need for ongoing shielding or self-isolation continue to bring some disruption and have made carrying out electrical safety checks more difficult. Under such circumstances, a common-sense approach has been encouraged but the landlord must be able to demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to comply, so not to be in breach of their legal duties.

As always, I can advise on what this means for landlords but if you have questions or require any other advice, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am always happy to help.