THE NEW MANDATORY ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE FROM 1ST JULY 2020 - What Do YOU NEED TO KNOW anD HOW IT MAY EFFECT YOU?
THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY STANDARDS IN THE PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2020 COME INTO FORCE ON 1ST JULY 2020 FOR LANDLORDS OFFERING NEW RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES FROM 1ST JULY ONWARDS.
With a potential penalty of up to £30,000 for non-compliance with the Electrical Safety Regulations, and a tight timeframe to organize electrical inspections, it will be a busy 6 months for electricians and landlords alike.
Landlords in Wales are subject to different regulations under the Building Regulations 2010, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.
OVERVIEW OF THE REGULATIONS:
Private landlords must ensure every electrical installation in their residential premises is inspected and tested at intervals of no more than 5 years by a qualified and competent person.
WHEN ARE THE REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE FROM?
- For new private tenancies entered into from 1st July 2020
- For existing tenancies from 1st April 2021.
WHAT TYPE OF TENANCIES DO THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGULATIONS APPLY TO?
- Residential tenancies where tenants have the right to occupy either all or part of a premise as their only or main residence, they pay rent, and it is not listed as an excluded tenancy (detailed below)
- Note: The regulations currently only apply to rental properties in England only. And the regulations replace those already in place for HMOs.
WHICH TENANCIES ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGULATIONS?
- Private registered providers of social housing; lodger arrangements; long leases or tenancies which grant a right of occupation for a term of 7 years or more; student lettings in halls of residence; and tenancies granted to occupiers of hostels, refuges, care homes, hospitals, hospices and other accommodation provided as a result of a duty imposed on an NHS body.
WHAT DO LANDLORDS NEED TO DO?
- Hire a qualified person to carry out an inspection to check that the electrical installations in their rental properties comply with the 2018 edition of the Institute of Engineering and Technology wiring regulations.
- Ensure the electrician prepares a report detailing: (i) results of the inspection and (ii) date of the next inspection (which will need to be at least every 5 years)
- Initial inspections need to be carried out before any new tenancy is granted from 1st July 2020, and by 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies.
- If the report identifies a breach, further investigations must be carried out within 28 days of the inspection, or within a shorter period if specified. Landlords should obtain written confirmation of completion of the remedial works and provide this within 28 days of completion to each existing tenant, and to the local authority.
- The report will need to be supplied to new tenants before they move in, to existing tenants within 28 days of receiving it, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of their request to view the report.
- The results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority
What ‘Report’ should landlords expect?
Observations will be reported by codes:
Unsatisfactory codes are C1, C2, and F1.
Full explanations and what does it mean can be found here.
LOCAL AUTHORITY’S POWERS TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE
- They have the power to demand sight of the report, which landlords should provide within 7 days of the request or they face a penalty.
- They also have the power to serve a remedial notice on a landlord to compel them to comply with the regulations if they have reasonable grounds to believe the landlord is in breach.
- Landlords have 28 days from the date the notice is received to remedy the breach, and if the work is not carried out in time then the local authority has the power to carry out the required works themselves (on providing prior written notice to the landlord) and then recover their costs from the landlord.
- Landlords who fail to comply with the regulations may face a civil penalty up to a maximum of £30,000, with the potential for multiple penalties to be imposed for a continuing failure
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE 2020 ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGULATIONS AND SECTION 21 HOUSING ACT 1988 NOTICES
- Failure to provide tenants with an electrical safety report at the start of their tenancies does not seem to invalidate a section 21 notice to terminate the tenancy, unlike evidence of failure to provide tenants with EPCs and gas safety certificates at the start of their tenancies.
- The mandatory nature of the new 2020 electrical safety regulations and the high potential penalties for failure to comply may have been regarded as enough incentive for landlords to comply with the regulations. It is also possible that the proposed abolition of section 21 notices explains this omission. Time will surely tell with the impending 1st July 2020 deadline to provide electrical safety reports to new tenants.
Remedial work and Further investigation
Where an electrical installation safety report identifies urgent remedial work or requires further investigation, the private landlord must ensure that this required work is carried out by a qualified and competent person within
- 28 days or
- the period specified in the report if less than 28 days starting with the date of the inspection and testing
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