New electrical checks and safety standards for Landlords

by Property 118

8:59 AM, 15th January 2020
About 3 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.



Comments

Ian Morgan

21:17 PM, 19th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by EECLondon at 19/01/2020 - 20:12
I agree with your prior analysis about minimal safety. My mantra is, would I be happy with it in my house with my young children running around! This isn't emotional, it is good morals. Likewise with charging a fair price for work undertaken.
I feel a minimal standard would be all circuits RCD protected (unless required not to be so, fire alarm or sprinkler circuit for instance) passing all other tests we perform.
2 hours for an EICR, is that a 1 bed flat? That's way to quick, even as a lowly domestic installer I do things properly and it takes as long as it takes with a proper sample protocol. Generally speaking around Cardiff you are looking at circa £100 for a three bed.
With regards to the reference to domestic installer and contractor status. There are good and bad sparkies in both categories. My advice would be to find a trustworthy spark regardless of whether he/she is one or the other.

Gas Safe is enshrined in law so why not electrical safety also?

EECLondon

21:18 PM, 19th January 2020
About 3 months ago

I understand the EICR will need to be sent to the Local Authority so it is likely they will keep a register online as is done with Part "P" Building Compliance for Electrical Installations . This can be checked on line http://www.checkmynotification.com. Just type in the Post Code.

The NICEIC Platinum Promise can take necessary steps to put work right in the event that an installer is no longer registered, or has ceased trading.
The contractor was registered with NICEIC for the type of work undertaken at the time the installation was complete
The work has been fully completed within the last six years.

B4lamb

21:37 PM, 19th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Obfuscated Data

Neil Patterson

21:54 PM, 19th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by B4lamb at 19/01/2020 - 21:37
No comments have been deleted so the accusation is unfounded from a new member.

EECLondon

22:07 PM, 19th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jk at 19/01/2020 - 18:29It may take more than 2 hours but it is unlikely to be done in less than 2 hours. With the correct kit for testing in a 2 bedroom you will get a long way in 2 hours. About an hour on the CCU inspection and readings an hour or so going through accessories and their tests. Not included in the site time and with the desktop software about 30 minutes on the PC formally prepare the final document and email out with the standard covering letter to explain if it has passed or not. Give a or take a bit of chat on site.
If it is done in 30 to 60 minutes as I have heard then it cannot be trusted. I was told by a developer the person that used to issue their installation certs seldom visited site and trusted what the installation people done. I was asked to do an inspection in their own home for them to get their Building Control Cert. I found Class 1 Switches had 70/80 Volts on the face because the earthing was not complete. I could tell the installation was done by people which were not trained in the UK. I could not read the CCU Schedule because it was done in Chinese writing. They client then understood why it is necessary to have the installation properly tested. That dwelling was an 8 bedroom with pool etc and did take 2 days to inspect. It cost them about £4,500 to put the electrical right and make safe. Cheap Job at the Start; No cheap job at the end.

Jireh Homes

5:59 AM, 20th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Electrical Safety First have a publication addressing the Classification Codes, which includes guidance on the "not to current practice" standards and addressing some of the myths which have been commented on during this thread.

https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/media/2149/bpg4-1.pdf.

Jireh Homes

6:14 AM, 20th January 2020
About 3 months ago

The requirement for electrical safety checks within Scotland's Private Rented properties came into force Dec 2015, so we have 5 years operational experience with few reported issues. The "danger" is as others have noted wording slipping into the regulations making compliance more onerous than the industry guidance.

https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/sites/default/files/hpc/SCOTTISH%20GOVERNMENT%20GUIDANCE%20ON%20ELECTRICAL%20INSTALLATIONS%20ND%20APPLIANCES%20IN%20PRIVATE%20RENTED%20PROPERTY%20-%20REVISED%20NOV%202016_0.pdf

Old Mrs Landlord

9:31 AM, 20th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jireh Homes at 20/01/2020 - 05:59Have you still not grasped that what is at issue here is not what the electrical regulations state, but the wording of the draft law for landlords in what has every appearance of being yet another piece of hastily and clumsily drafted legislation causing serious unintended consequences for compliant landlords? If it goes into final legislation as currently worded there is a danger that in some properties it could be interpreted to require inspection of wires embedded in plaster and under floorboards to an extent which would require tenants to be rehoused while investigatory and remedial work takes place, rendering the let uneconomically unviable. We have seen unforeseen and unintended legal consequences from poorly drafted legislation on other areass and are concerned that the initial wording avoids a costly repeat. Judges interpret legislation according to the strict wording of the law rather than by what laymen or electricians might consider common sense intention. Some tenant representative bodies have a history of exploiting such weaknesses. The landlords on this thread questioning the wording of the draft legislation are trying to prevent future problems for tenants as well as themselves, not looking for ways to avoid ensuring that their properties are safe as some comments seem to be suggesting.

JJ

11:17 AM, 20th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 20/01/2020 - 09:31
"The landlords on this thread questioning the wording of the draft legislation are trying to prevent future problems for tenants as well as themselves, not looking for ways to avoid ensuring that their properties are safe as some comments seem to be suggesting."

This is correct. The length of this thread indicates that there is confusion about this. Many tenants will have an AST of about one year renewed annually and the new regulations come into force just over a year from now. So their landlord's best option if they have concerns is have the property tested now if it is presently empty, but if it isn't only allow the property to be rented up until April 2021. That isn't going to create security for tenants.

So if the regulations are going to be implemented the best way to do that would be with a transition period for existing assured shorthold tenancies. Otherwise, a lot of people are going to be kicked out of their homes.

Michael Barnes

12:22 PM, 20th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 20/01/2020 - 11:17
"So if the regulations are going to be implemented the best way to do that would be with a transition period for existing assured shorthold tenancies. Otherwise, a lot of people are going to be kicked out of their homes."

But the problem is that there are known to be many properties let by unscrupulous and criminal landlords where there ARE electrical safety issues (see, for example, articles by Ben Reeve-Lewis on LandlordLawBlog), so I presume that the intention is not to allow them any more leeway than absolutely necessary.

Legislation such as this is one more reason to have tenancies that become contractual periodic at the end of the fixed term: it avoids being "caught" by a tenancy becoming statutory periodic.

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