On 1 June, new legislation came into force requiring private landlords to carry out regular electrical testing to a very specific standard.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) is a new Statutory Instrument. It applies to:
- Any new tenancy or renewed tenancy from 1 July 2020
- All existing tenancies from 1 April 2021
The key provisions
- Testing must be carried out at least every five years by a qualified and competent person.
- Testing must comply with the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’ (published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671:2018)
- Landlords must obtain a report which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
- A copy of the report must be given to the tenant who is in occupation within 28 days of the testing.
- Any new tenant must be given a copy of this report before they take up occupation.
- Any prospective tenant is entitled to a copy of the current report within 28 days of making a request.
- If the Local Authority requests a copy, this must be provided within 7 days.
- Landlords must keep an additional copy which should then be provided to the person who carries out the next inspection.
- Any works that are identified, or further investigative work, must be completed within 28 days (or sooner if the report says it is urgent or an immediate health and safety risk)
- Landlords must give the tenant written confirmation of completion of any identified work and serve a copy on the Local Authority within 28 days.
- The Regulations do not require landlords to carry out portable appliance (PAT) testing on any portable electrical appliances they provide, such as cookers, but it is strongly recommended that they do so.
Which tenancies are affected?
The Regulations apply to all assured shorthold tenancies, or any tenancy where the tenant has exclusive occupation of a property. HMOs are also required to comply with the Regulations and the electrical testing requirements that were previously in force for HMOs (within The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006) are repealed.
There are exceptions and these include properties owned by registered providers of social housing, or properties where the landlord is in residence, for example. A full list of exceptions can be found in Schedule 1 to the Regulations.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
A local authority may bring action against a landlord who is in breach and fines of up to £30,000 may be imposed so the sanctions for non-compliance are significant.
What should landlords be doing now?
Landlords will need to move quickly to carry out inspections for any new tenancies, or tenancy renewals which are entered into with effect from 1 July 2020. If an inspection and test has been carried out in the last 5 years, and if it complies with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations, then a new inspection and test is not required but the tenant must be provided with a copy of the report.
Private landlords, particularly those with portfolios, should check their existing reports/certificates and, if they do not comply with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations, new inspections will need to take place before 1 April 2021.
Wright Hassall can advise in relation to all aspects of private letting and acts for several PRS landlords. For more information, please contact our team.