New electrical safety checks come into force

12th June 2020

Landlords must ensure all electrical installations in rented properties are inspected every five years, according to new regulations effective from 1st July.

The Government’s new Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 say a qualified tester must inspect the electrics to ensure they are safe for tenants to use. Landlords must receive a report of the results and give a copy to tenants within 28 days.

Electrical installations are the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, including the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box, along with permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors. The regulations don’t cover electrical appliances like cookers, fridges and tvs, although landlords should regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance they provide.

Great news for tenants

Letters Managing Director Anya Mathewson said: “We have already been insisting on these checks for quite a few years as it has always been the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the property is safe for tenants. The great news is that this is now universal for all properties, whoever lets them.”

She added: “We are proud to have led the way and therefore there is very little change for our landlords at this stage. However as per the legislation we will now be providing a copy of the certificate to the tenants prior to any new tenancy commencing.”

All new tenants after July 1st must receive a copy of the property’s electrical installations certificate. The new regulations will also apply to existing tenancies from 1st April 2021.

Properties with an existing report

The new regulations require that inspection and test of the electrical installation is carried out in accordance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations BS 7671:2018 (the national standard to which all domestic wiring must conform).

The 18th edition came into effect in 2019, so if a landlord already has a report for a property that was carried out after this date and has complied with all the other requirements of the regulations, they won’t have to have another inspection for five years, provided the report does not state that the next inspection should take place sooner.

Existing installations that were installed in accordance with earlier editions of the wiring regulations may not comply with the 18th edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading but it is suggested that landlords with existing reports should check them and decide whether the electrical installation complies with current standards. Landlords might also wish to contact the inspector who provided a report to ensure the installation complies with electrical safety standards.

Landlords should also:

  • Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.

Tenancy types covered by the regulations

Exceptions include social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of seven years or more, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.

Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO)

An HMO is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from one ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. If an HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent, then these Regulations apply to the HMO.

If you have any queries or concerns about the new regulations, please contact us and we’ll be happy to advise.