On 1 June 2020, the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations came into force. They obliged residential landlords to ensure that all electrical installations in their rental properties are inspected and tested at least every five years by a suitably qualified person.
Until recently, the regulations only applied to tenancies created after the beginning of July 2020 with landlords being obliged to carry out these inspections and producing certification to their new tenants before their tenancies started.
However, with effect from 1 April 2021 landlords were also required to have carried out similar testing and have suitable certificates in place for longer term tenancies which existing before the rules first came in.
The new rules impose several other obligations on landlords which follow on from the electrical inspection and testing. Similar to the requirements concerning gas safety certificates, the landlord must obtain a report from the person who carried out the test and supply a copy of it to each existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test. Any new tenants will need to be provided with a copy of the report before they move into the property.
Landlords should also ensure they keep a copy of the report in order to provide a copy to the next inspector and are able to provide a copy to the local housing authority within seven days if asked to do so.
If the report states that remedial works need to be carried out to meet safety requirements, these works must be attended to as well within 28 days of the initial inspection. Written confirmation must then be obtained that the remedial works have been carried out and that the electrical safety requirements have been met. That confirmation and a copy of the initial report must then be provided to each tenant and the local housing authority within 28 days of the remedial works being conducted.
Fraser Dawbarns urges residential landlords (and in particular those managing their own tenancies without the assistance of a lettings agent) to ensure they are complying with the new regulations.. Although certain types of residential tenancies are excluded from the remit of the regulations, most will be covered by it and certainly Assured Shorthold Tenancies (the most common form of residential tenancy) are.
It does not appear at present that failure to comply with the regulations will prevent a landlord from serving a valid Section 21 Notice, which is used to bring tenancies to an end on a ‘no-fault’ basis. However, it is always possible that the legislation may be amended. Irrespective of whether legislation changes in the future, if the regulations are not complied with, the local authority may take enforcement action against landlords. This could lead to financial penalties of up to £30,000 if landlords fail to adhere to warnings and notices served by the local authority.
If you need advice on any aspect of your legal obligations as a residential landlord, please contact us at any of our offices.
This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances. Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.
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