Environment, Safety and Standards

New electrical safety rules

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Five-year safety checks will be mandatory for landlords for all new tenancies from July 1 this year.

This will be rolled out to all existing tenancies from April 2021.

The new regulations were tabled today (MON), requiring pre-tenancy and five yearly checks of all fixed appliances and wiring. 

Landlords failing to comply with the new rules will face fines of up to £30,000.

The RLA welcomes moves to make rental homes safer for tenants but does have some concerns of the timescale – with landlords having just five months to comply.

Once the electrical installation has been tested, the landlord needs to receive a written report from the inspector, with the results and next inspection date. They must then

  • Give a copy of the report to tenants within 28 days 
  • Give a copy to the local authority, if it asks for one, within seven days
  • Keep a copy and give it to the person carrying out the next inspection. 

For new tenancies, the landlord must: 

  • Give the tenant a copy of the most recent report before they move in
  • Give a copy of the most recent report to any prospective new tenant who asks for it in writing, within 28 days

What happens next?

If improvement work is needed it must be carried out within 28 days, or a timeframe recommended by the inspector – which could be shorter.

The landlord must then get written confirmation the work has been done, a copy of which needs to be given to each tenant – along with the original report. 

What happens if you don’t comply?

If landlord breaches the requirements – and where the work is not urgent the council will serve a ‘remedial notice’ on the landlord. 

Once this is served the landlord will have 28 days to make the improvements or will be given 21 days to object. 

If the landlord doesn’t make the necessary improvements, the local authority can access the property with the tenants’ permission to do the work – although landlords can appeal.

The local authority must tell the landlord – but will be able to recover their costs from them. They can also do this where urgent works are needed but have not been carried out.

Access

If the tenants of the property refuse access, the landlord will not be considered to have breached this duty.

More information

The new rules require approval from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and can be read in full here.

As RLA is updating its electrical safety guidance as a result of the new rules. The RLA also runs training courses on this topic. See below for the full list of electrical safety training courses including a Basic Electrical Awareness course and one-day Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) course. 

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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