Electrical Safety Standard – are your properties covered?

Making sure your rental properties have a safe and secure electricity supply is really important and private landlords can now face hefty fines if they don’t comply.

Here, PropHomes’ CEO Paul Harrison, takes a closer look at the Electrical Safety Standards and what it means for landlords.

Electrical Safety Standard – are your properties covered?

Back in June 2020, the Government introduced regulations in England which meant that landlords are required to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years.

Landlords must provide a copy of the Electrical Safety report to their tenants, plus to the local authority, if requested.  The aim is to ensure that the private rented sector is offering the same high standard of safe and secure housing that is available in the social housing sector.

The government’s Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require landlords to ensure that:

  • National electrical standards set out in 18th edition of wiring regulations are met.
  • Electrical installations in rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified person at least every five years.
  • The tenant is supplied with a copy of the report within 28 days of the inspection or before they occupy the premises.
  • A copy of the report is retained to give to the inspector and tester.
  • A copy of the report is supplied to any prospective tenants within 28 days.
  • The local authority is supplied with a copy of the report within 7 days of receiving a request.

What will be inspected?

All of the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property will be inspected, including the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings, fuse boxes and permanently connected equipment, like showers and extractor fans. The regulations do not cover electrical appliances, like cookers and televisions, but landlords are advised to carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any appliances that are supplied to tenants. All PAT tests should be recorded.

What will the inspection report show?

The inspection aims to show the following:

  • Whether any electrical installations are overloaded
  • If there are any potential shock risks or fire hazards
  • If there is any defective electrical work
  • If there is a lack of earthing or bonding

The report aims to ensure that the electrical installations are fit for purpose.

What if remedial work is needed on the property?

Where the report shows that remedial or further work is necessary, the landlord must ensure this work is completed within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.

The landlord is then required to supply written confirmation of the completion of the works from the electrician to the tenant and local authority within 28 days of the completion of the work.

The Regulations apply to all cases where a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence.

If the landlord owns houses of multiple occupation (HMO) (eg where at least 3 people are not from one ‘household’ eg a family, but share facilities like a bathroom and kitchen), then the same regulations apply.

Landlords can find a qualified and competent inspector and tester through the electrical safety industry’s competent person scheme.

What happens if a landlord doesn’t comply?

There are strict financial penalties for non-compliance and local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach.

What happens if a tenant won’t let an electrician into the property?

If this is the case, the landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice if they can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.  This includes keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians to try and arrange the work, including any replies they receive.

What about new properties?

If a property is newly built or has been completely rewired, it should have an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC).

Landlords should provide a copy of the EIC to tenants and, if requested, the local housing authority. The landlord will then not be required to carry out further checks or provide a report for 5 years after the EIC has been issued, as long as they have complied with their duty or duties under the Regulations.

What if previous electrical inspections were carried out on a property before these new regulations came into force?

The 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations 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 5 years, provided the report does not state that the next inspection should take place sooner. Electrical safety standards (the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations) must be met throughout the period of that tenancy.

What should I do now to ensure my properties comply?

By introducing the new regulations, the Government wants all landlords to do the right thing by their tenants to ensure they are safe.

The team at PropHome are here to help and advise on Electrical Safety Standards, plus all aspects of renting out a home.  Speak to us about our total Property Management service, by calling 0345 8686868 or emailing info@prophome.co.uk.