New guidance on the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 has been published by the government.
The new rules mean that landlords must ensure every electrical installation at the property is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified and competent person.
Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested. More on what to with the EICR can be read further down in this article.
The regulations apply in England to:
- All new tenancies from July 1st 2020
- All existing tenancies from 1st April 2021
If you have a lodger or you are letting out the property on a long lease (7 years or more) you are not required to have an EICR performed.
What about HMOs?
With HMOs, the guidance makes it clear that if an HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent, then these Regulations apply to the HMO.
HMOs with 5 or more tenants are licensable. The Housing Act 2004 has been amended by these Regulations to require a new mandatory condition in HMO licences ensuring that every electrical installation in the HMO is in proper working order and safe for continued use. See guidance on HMO licences.
Who do I need to give copies of the EICR to?
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 set out a number of different requirements around providing copies of the EICR to relevant people:
- The EICR must be given to all of the tenants before they occupy the property.
- When you replace the EICR you must provide them with a copy of the new report within 28 days of the inspection.
- If a tenant requests a copy of the EICR in writing, you must also provide them with one within 28 days.
- Where the local authority requests the EICR you must provide them with a copy of it within seven days or face potential penalties.
- Any prospective tenants who request a copy in writing must be provided one within 28 days.
If an inspection took place and a satisfactory report was issued before the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations came into force, but less than 5 years ago, will a landlord always need to have the property inspected again as soon as the Electrical Safety Regulations come into force?
The guidance clarifies this matter, and also whether all installations have to comply with the 18th edition, even if they were installed before this edition was in force. Read more here.
The government guidance also clearly sets out what landlords should do if a tenant will not allow access to the property (so that an inspection can take place) or if landlords are struggling to find an electrician to arrange the work.
Local Authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new Regulations and can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 (per breach of these regulations) if they find a landlord is in breach of their duty.
Secondly, where they have identified non-urgent work they must serve the landlord a notice detailing the work required and giving them 28 days to perform the work. The landlord may make representations to this within 21 days of the notice being served. If they do then the local authority must respond to these representations within 7 days. Until they respond the requirement to perform the work is suspended.
NRLA collaborate with NAPIT on advice for landlords
The NRLA and the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) have been collaborating to help landlords understand the new regulations.
Last month both associations hosted a joint webinar for landlords on the electrical safety rules. Members can watch this again for free here.