New electrical checks and safety standards for Landlords

by Property118.com News Team

8:59 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

New electrical checks and safety standards for Landlords

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New electrical checks and safety standards for Landlords

The Ministry of Housing Communities and local government has written draft legislation proposed to come into force 1st June 2020 titled ‘The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020’ Click here.

Landlords will need to ensure that the electrical safety standards are met  and ensure every electrical installation is inspected and tested at regular intervals of no more than 5 year by a qualified person

First inspection and testing must be carried out before the tenancy commences or by 1st April 2021 in relation to an existing specified tenancy.

Financial penalties faced by landlords for a breach of the above regulations will be a maximum of £30,000

This will need to be passed by the House of Commons and the Lords, but with the new government majority is unlikely to meet much resistance.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark commented:

“We are supportive of this concept and believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants. Mandating  electrical testing should have a limited impact on good professional landlords and agents in the market, many of whom already voluntarily undertake these inspections. We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline but have received assurances from MHCLG about capacity in the supply chain.”

Duties of private landlords in relation to electrical installations

3.—(1) A private landlord(7) who grants or intends to grant a specified tenancy must—

(a)ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the residential premises(8) are occupied under a specified tenancy;

(b)ensure every electrical installation in the residential premises is inspected and tested at regular intervals by a qualified person; and

(c)ensure the first inspection and testing is carried out—

(i)before the tenancy commences in relation to a new specified tenancy; or

(ii)by 1st April 2021 in relation to an existing specified tenancy.

(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(b) “at regular intervals” means—

(a)at intervals of no more than 5 years; or

(b)where the most recent report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) requires such inspection and testing to be at intervals of less than 5 years, at the intervals specified in that report.

(3) Following the inspection and testing required under sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (c) a private landlord must—

(a)obtain a report from the person conducting that inspection and test, which gives the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test;

(b)supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of the inspection and test;

(c)supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority;

(d)retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test; and

(e)supply a copy of the most recent report to—

(i)any new tenant of the specified tenancy to which the report relates before that tenant occupies those premises; and

(ii)any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant.

(4) Where a report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) indicates that a private landlord is or is potentially in breach of the duty under sub-paragraph (1)(a) and the report requires the private landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work, the private landlord must ensure that further investigative or remedial work is carried out by a qualified person within—

(a)28 days; or

(b)the period specified in the report if less than 28 days,

starting with the date of the inspection and testing.

(5) Where paragraph (4) applies, a private landlord must—

(a)obtain written confirmation from a qualified person that the further investigative or remedial work has been carried out and that—

(i)the electrical safety standards are met; or

(ii)further investigative or remedial work is required;

(b)supply that written confirmation, together with a copy of the report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) which required the further investigative or remedial work to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work; and

(c)supply that written confirmation, together with a copy of the report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) which required the further investigative or remedial work to the local housing authority within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work.

(6) Where further investigative work is carried out in accordance with paragraph (4) and the outcome of that further investigative work is that further investigative or remedial work is required, the private landlord must repeat the steps in paragraphs (4) and (5) in respect of that further investigative or remedial work.

(7) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (3)(e)(ii) a person is a prospective tenant in relation to residential premises if that person—

(a)requests any information about the premises from the prospective landlord for the purpose of deciding whether to rent those premises;

(b)makes a request to view the premises for the purpose of deciding whether to rent those premises; or

(c)makes an offer, whether oral or written, to rent those premises.

Remedial action

Duty of local housing authority to serve a remedial notice

4.—(1) Where a local housing authority has reasonable grounds to believe that, in relation to residential premises situated within its area, a private landlord is in breach of one or more of the duties under regulation 3(1)(a), (1)(b), (1)(c), (4) and (6), and the most recent report under regulation 3(3) does not indicate that urgent remedial action is required, the authority must serve a remedial notice on the private landlord.

(2) A remedial notice must—

(a)specify the premises to which the notice relates;

(b)specify the duty or duties that the local housing authority considers the private landlord has failed to comply with;

(c)specify the remedial action the local housing authority considers should be taken;

(d)require the private landlord to take that action within 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served;

(e)explain that the private landlord is entitled to make written representations against the notice within 21 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served;

(f)specify the person to whom, and the address (including if appropriate any email address) to which, any representations may be sent; and

(g)explain the effect of regulations 11 and 12, including the maximum financial penalty which a local housing authority may impose.

(3) The local housing authority must serve a remedial notice within 21 days beginning with the day on which the authority decides it has reasonable grounds under paragraph (1).

(4) The local housing authority must consider any representations made under paragraph (2).

(5) Where a private landlord makes written representations the remedial notice is suspended until the local housing authority has complied with paragraphs (4) and (6).

(6) The local housing authority must—

(a)inform the private landlord in writing of the outcome of the consideration under paragraph (4) within 7 days beginning with the day on which the period under sub-paragraph (2)(e) expires; and

(b)where the outcome of the consideration under paragraph (4) is to confirm the remedial notice, confirm that notice and inform the private landlord in writing that the remedial notice is confirmed and the suspension under paragraph (5) ceases to have effect.

(7) The local housing authority may withdraw the remedial notice at any time.
Duty of private landlord to comply with a remedial notice

5.—(1) Where a remedial notice is served on a private landlord, the private landlord must take the remedial action specified in the notice within—

(a)where no representations are made under regulation 4(2) and the remedial notice is not withdrawn, the period specified in regulation 4(2)(d); or

(b)where representations are made under regulation 4(2) and the outcome of the consideration under regulation 4(4) is to confirm the remedial notice, 21 days from the day on which the private landlord is informed that the suspension under regulation 4(5) ceases to have effect.

(2) A private landlord is not to be taken to be in breach of the duty under paragraph (1) if the private landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with that duty.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (2), where a private landlord is prevented from entering the residential premises to which the duty under paragraph (1) relates by the tenant or tenants of those premises, the private landlord will not be considered to have failed to have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the duty under paragraph (1) solely by reason of a failure to bring legal proceedings with a view to securing entry to the premises.
Power of local housing authority to arrange remedial action

6.—(1) Where a local housing authority is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that a private landlord on whom it has served a remedial notice is in breach of the duty under regulation 5(1), the authority may, with the consent of the tenant or tenants of the premises in relation to which the remedial action is to be taken, arrange for an authorised person to enter those premises to take the remedial action specified in the remedial notice.

(2) Before the remedial action is taken the local housing authority must serve a notice on the private landlord specifying—

(a)the premises in relation to which the remedial action is to be taken by the authorised person under paragraph (1) and the nature of that remedial action;

(b)the power under which the remedial action is to be taken by the authorised person in paragraph (1);

(c)the date when the remedial action will be taken by the authorised person; and

(d)the right of appeal under regulation 7 against the decision of the authority to arrange for an authorised person to take the remedial action.

(3) The local housing authority must arrange for an authorised person to take the remedial action within 28 days of—

(a)the end of the notice period in regulation 7(3) where there is no appeal; or

(b)an appeal decision that confirms or varies the decision of the local housing authority where there is an appeal.

(4) An authorised person must—

(a)give not less than 48 hours’ notice of the remedial action to the tenant or tenants of the residential premises on which it is to be taken; and

(b)if required to do so by or on behalf of the private landlord or tenant or tenants, produce evidence of identity and authority.

Financial penalties for breach of duties

11.—(1) Where a local housing authority is satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that a private landlord has breached a duty under regulation 3, the authority may impose a financial penalty (or more than one penalty in the event of a continuing failure) in respect of the breach.

(2) A financial penalty—

(a)may be of such amount as the authority imposing it determines; but

(b)must not exceed £30,000.


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Comments

Seething Landlord

9:38 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

this post does not mention that the safety standards that will have to be met are those specified in the 2018 wiring regulations which have only been in force for one year. My understanding is that until now it has not been necessary to upgrade an electrical installation to current standards until further electrical work is done and I suspect that the vast majority of current installations do not meet the standard that will now be required. I have no idea what changes might be necessary and would be very interested to hear from anyone with that knowledge as to what will be involved in upgrading a typical, relatively modern installation.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:44 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

I would be interested also if anyone knows what the current situation is in Wales regarding any changes in this direction.

B4lamb

9:53 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

Obfuscated Data

Rod

10:15 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

I've heard - £ 10,oooooo fines are coming in + punishment in the 'stocks' + forfeit of property to tenant followed by public execution by beheading then head stuck on a pole! Not that far off???

Beaver

10:24 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 15/01/2020 - 09:38
I carried out a full EICR before letting my property. But it's an old property and this was before 2018. Presumably if I have the property inspected and it fails I need to kick the tenants out before April 2021 in order to have the place re-wired.

Sue Twyford

10:25 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

So nothing to apply to social housing (housing associations, council housing), only us in the private sector? Why are they exempt ? (I know that is a rhetorical question)

Pete Lightowler

11:02 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

Of course all responsible landlords agree and will ensure their properties are electrically safe. However, this new legislation is a can of worms which will cost landlords a fortune.
I recently requested a 5 year inspection/report on a Victorian mid terrace property and the electrician would only issue a report for 12 months, not 5 years. His reasoning was the age of the wiring, even though everything else checked out fine. A different electrician was perfectly happy to issue a 5 year ticket on an identical property. Will the rules change in future to make it a mandatory annual inspection like the gas regs?
Electricians also differ in what work they consider necessary. If landlords are forced to carry out all work simply because it doesn’t meet current standards, then yields are going to plummet. New consumer units I had fitted just over a year would need to be upgraded because they’re plastic, not metal. Nothing ‘unsafe’ about them, just not compliant with current regs.
I see yet another loophole which will prohibit the use of Section 21 (while it’s still around), and Section 8 (because same requirements to issue S21 I believe will be transferred to S8). How do you prove you supplied a copy of the old report to the new electrician? They aren’t going to waste time signing a receipt and may or may not to reply to your email.
I’m all for ensuring my properties are ‘safe’ for my tenants, but see this as going way beyond what is necessary.

Luke P

11:33 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sue Twyford at 15/01/2020 - 10:25
It would seem not - Professional resource, consumer guidance and safety campaign group Electrical Safety First's 'Technical Director', Martyn Allen said...

“Whilst we welcome this crucial step in protecting tenants, the safety of electrics should not be a lottery based on tenure type and we hope to see the regulation mirrored in the social housing sector in the near future.”

Click here

Beaver

11:48 AM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Pete Lightowler at 15/01/2020 - 11:02I had a similar experience when I did my EICR. The first guy I had in was obviously doing EICRs to generate work and make money. So I got his report, paid him and got a second opinion. I gave the EICR to the second electrician and he told me that some of what had been recommended was not in the regulations and one bit of it was actually wrong. The trouble with this kind of thing is it will be used by some to milk landlords.

Seething Landlord

13:02 PM, 15th January 2020
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Pete Lightowler at 15/01/2020 - 11:02
It appears that the electrician's discretion and code C3 will no longer exist for rented properties - if the installation does not meet the 2018 standards remedial work will be required within 28 days.

There could be a legal argument over this interpretation but who is going to risk a massive fine and costs in trying to establish it?

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