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Residential Tenancies and Electrical Safety Standards

Image of Electrician for Electrical Safety

If you are a landlord or tenant of a privately rented property the position regarding electrical safety is finally catching up with that for gas appliances.

Since 1st October 2015, a landlord has had to undertake annual Gas Safety checks and to supply a copy to the tenant, or a prospective tenant before they move in. Whilst it was good practice for a landlord to carry out electrical safety checks it wasn’t compulsory.

Now the Electrical Safety Standards in Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 have been laid before parliament. It is anticipated they will be approved and come into force on the 1st April 2020 applying to most new private residential tenancies from 1st June 2020. 

From 1st April 2021, the Regulations will apply to most private residential tenancies even if they were created before 1st June 2020.

Landlords have to ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the residential premises are occupied under a tenancy and that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.

The landlord is required to obtain a report which gives the results of the inspection and test, supply that report to each tenant within 28 days, and to the local housing authority within 7 days of a written request, and retains a copy until the next inspection is due. 

The landlord must also supply a copy of the last report to any new tenant before the occupation of the property, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a written request from the prospective tenant.

Where a report requires the landlord to carry out further investigative or remedial work, the landlord must carry out that work within 28 days or less if the reports says so. Once the work has been done the landlord has 28 days to obtain and supply written confirmation of completion of the work to the tenant and local housing authority.

If a landlord does not follow the rules then the local housing authority can fine the landlord up to £30,000.

The only good news is that, unlike the Gas Safety requirements, if the landlord does not give the tenant a copy of the report before the tenancy starts, it does not stop the landlord serving Notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Landlords need to be aware of the changes and start to arrange the safety tests now. There is likely to be a surge in demand for electricians from the start of May, which could leave some landlords struggling to obtain reports in time.

If you are unsure of your obligations as a landlord, or rights as a tenant, contact us for more information.

Stewart Bailey

Managing Partner

Stewart started his legal career in the City before making the decision to balance work and play more evenly. Returning to his Cheshire roots he joined what was then Durrad Davies & Co, experiencing the firm evolve into the Legal 500 recognised Hibberts LLP.