From 1st July 2020 new legislation was in introduced to improve electrical safety in rented properties. The law applied to all new tenancies in England from 1st July 2020. This now applies to all existing tenancies in England (as of 1st April 2021).
The new law (The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020) requires all properties to have an electrical test at least every five years and an EICR certificate to be given by an accredited electrician.
Why have electrical regulations been introduced?
Mandatory electrical safety checks for rental properties have been discussed for a long while. Whilst many landlords already follow electrical best practices, the new regulations aim in the same way as gas safe legislation to ensure that properties are protected and that tenants are safe.
What does the inspection involve?
Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs), should be carried out by a fully qualified and registered engineer. The purpose of the inspection is to:
- Find any potential fire hazards or electric shock risks
- Identify any defective electrical work
- Detect any lack or earthing or bonding
- Pinpoint any overloading of electrical circuits or equipment
Landlords must make sure that their inspection is carried out by an accredited electrician as local authorities and lettings agents will only accept certificates issued by a qualified tradesman.
The engineer will issue an EICR detailing any damage, defects or dangerous conditions found. If the property is deemed unsafe, the electrical installation will be declared as “unsatisfactory” and remedial action will be required.
What happens if my property is deemed unsafe?
The electrician completing the inspection will advise of remedial works that need to be completed to comply with the electrical safety standards. This work has to be completed within 28 days of the report being issued.
Once remedials are complete a satisfactory EICR will be issued, this is when a new tenancy can begin.
Landlords who breach Electrical Safety Regulations may incur a financial penalty of up to £30,000
If the local authority believe a landlord to be in breach of the duties set out by the regulations, they must will serve a remedial notice to the landlord who must then carry out the action recommended.
Different to Gas Safe checks, EICR are valid for 5 years. If your rental property has a valid EICR when the regulations were enforced (1st April 2021), you will not need to carry out a new one until that report expires.
The pandemic has made organising and carrying out these checks more difficult than normal,
If your tenants are vulnerable or isolating the works may be delayed however government have advised landlords should make every effort to comply with the regulations.
If your property doesn’t have an EICR and it’s the first time you’re letting it out, you should book your EICR well in advance of the tenancy start date.
Don’t get caught out – Get your EICR booked in..