Electrical safety standards – latest rules for landlords and details of fines
1st April 2021
By Ben Walker
Some landlords are going to get caught out by the latest Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations which are effective from 1 April.
The arrival of new electrical safety standards have seemingly been overlooked by some landlords. This could result in many of them seeing some heavy fines.
Firstly there are big fines for renting without meeting the regulations.
Secondly, when buying or selling, the absence of a valid report could hold up proceedings. This is because valuers could deem the property unfit to rent without one.
So to clarify, the requirement to obtain a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) doesn’t only apply to a new tenancy.
Additionally, from April 1st it will also include properties with a tenancy already in place.
All properties rented out will require an ECIR completed by a competent or qualified person to confirm the property is safe. The report will examine and comment on all fixed electrical elements of the property. This will include plugs sockets, light fittings, all wiring as well as electric showers, extractors and testing the fuse box.
Landlords must give tenants a copy of the report within 28 days of the inspection. They must also keep a copy for inspection until the next report is done. Further reports are then required every five years.
What’s included or excluded?
The regulations apply to properties where a private tenant occupies the property as their main or only residence. This includes a licence to occupy as well as an assured shorthold tenancy.
HMO’s were previously covered under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. This has now been removed and replaced by the new regulations – so HMO’s are caught.
For larger HMO’s (5 or more tenants) a license is required. A new condition has now been added to the HMO licence to ensure the fixed electrical installations are all up to the proper standard. Here is some HMO licence guidance.
There are some exceptions in schedule 1 of the regulations. These include lodgers, social housing, student halls of residence, care homes, hospices and hospitals, property on a lease of 7 years or more plus other property which is used for the provision of healthcare.
Penalties for non compliance
Any landlord who fails to get the checks carried out by a qualified person could be facing fines of up to £5,000 initially and as much as £30,000 if they re offend.
Property you own and rent out
Unless there is a relevant exclusion there is no getting around this – comply or face fines
Property you are buying or selling to rent out.
Make sure there is an EICR in place at an early stage of the process. It’s best if done before a valuation is carried.
It seems there is no way to avoid it so at some point it will either scupper or delay the sale if not done early. For more information on the electrical safety standards click here.
Products and tools to consider
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