The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rental Sector are set to change in April this year. As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your buy-to-let or rent-to-rent property. We recommend getting organised for the updated electrical standards as soon as you can.
The changes initially came into force on 1st June 2020, requiring five-yearly inspections of all electrical installations, in addition to inspection reports provided to your tenants. These checks include all wiring, sockets, fuse boxes and any other fixed electrical parts. However, their introduction only applied to new tenancies; all existing tenancies would have to adhere to the changes by April 2021.
Our article, therefore, is a friendly reminder to get your electrical safety in line before you’re faced with a financial penalty, up to the value of £30,000.
Your Legal Obligations
Under the amended safety standards, landlords now have a legal obligation to ensure all electrical installations in their rented properties are safe to use. These rental properties include assured shorthand tenancies and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), as well as licences to occupy. The only exceptions are social housing, lodgers, leases of seven years or more, student halls of residences, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and other accommodation linked to healthcare provision.
The new regulations ask all landlords to guarantee their electrical installations meet the requirements of the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’ and are tested by a qualified person every five years. These tests will provide you with the necessary documentation, allowing you to supply your tenants with their own copy within 28 days of the test being carried out. Ensure you remember to provide a copy of this report to any new and prospective tenants and your local authority.
If this inspection brings to light any remedial or further investigative work, you must get this work completed within a 28 day period, or a shorter amount of time, if specified. In these instances, you need to supply written confirmation of any action taken from the electrician and again provide your tenants and the local authority with copies of the paperwork.
According to recent research carried out by ARLA Propertymark, half of all letting agents surveyed in September 2020 had more than 60 tenancies that will require every fixed electrical installation at the property to be inspected and tested by April this year.
There are six weeks between now and when new regulations come into force! Make sure you’re one step ahead. You can find out more about the Electrical Safety Standards in the private rented sector on the government website here.