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From 1 April 2021 the Regulations for Electrical Safety Standards apply in all cases where a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent. This includes assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy.
Exceptions include social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of 7 years or more, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.
What if a tenant won’t let me in, or I can’t find an inspector?
A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice, if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.
A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous safety reports.
During the COVID-19 pandemic we are advising local authorities that we expect them to take a common sense approach to enforcement of these regulations, and other standards in the private rented sector.
Click here for the guide updated as of 1st April 2021. Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at an interval of at least every 5 years.
Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
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.
Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
A house in multiple occupation (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.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 previously put specific duties on landlords around electrical safety. This requirement has now been repealed, and HMOs are now covered by the new Electrical Safety Regulations.
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.
What will be inspected and tested?
The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket-outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box) will be inspected. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors.
What will happen in the inspection?
The inspection will find out if:
What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?
The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.
We recommend that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide and then supply tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried out as good practice.
Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.
Tenants and landlords may consider registering their own electrical appliances with a product registration scheme.
Landlords must obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) from the person conducting the inspection and test which explains its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work required.
Landlords must then supply a copy of this report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test, to a new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
If a local authority requests it, landlords must supply them with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving the request.
If the report requires remedial work or further investigation, landlords must provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days of completing the work.
Landlords must retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
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