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

Old Mrs Landlord

0:39 AM, 21st January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 20/01/2020 - 09:31Obviously I meant economically unviable, i.e. not economically viable. Apologies.

Chris Sandeman

7:56 AM, 21st January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by EECLondon at 20/01/2020 - 18:11
Thank you very much for your guidance about earth rods and the TT earthing system which I expect will be helpful in the near future for many more landlords in London who are customers of UK Power Networks.

Chris Sandeman

8:07 AM, 21st January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Morgan at 20/01/2020 - 19:33
Thank you for confirming the arrangement for switching to an earth rod and TT earthing system. I think you may be right about lack of understanding, I suspect the mains earth was not disconnected, but wasn’t there to see; one earth rod gave Ze of 8.5 Ω, the second got Ze down to 5.6 Ω.

I didn’t really think the CH programmer was a coincidence, but of course it added to the cost of work and inconvenience for the tenants who had to depend on the immersion heater (what’s that?) for several days.

Eppingelec

15:24 PM, 21st January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Morgan at 15/01/2020 - 16:45
The niceic coding guide available online for free gives a code 3 for circuits within 50mm of the surface of the wall without mechanical and rcd protection. A code 3 makes much more sense in my opinion.

JJ

15:52 PM, 21st January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Eppingelec at 21/01/2020 - 15:24
Whilst this information is great for electricians to discuss how they might interpret the new regulations, the number of issues that might possibly crop up...new earth connections, safety cut-outs, circuits that might need to be dug out and protected etc....indicate that most landlords are not going to be likely to take the risk of having their properties declared as unsafe. Like me, they will probably just refuse to re-let their properties in order to get the work done. So the tenants will be made homeless.

Jan Martin

16:35 PM, 22nd January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 15/01/2020 - 09:44
Hi Rosalind
I have been carrying out Electrical inspections for many years now .Electrician had a few updates to some of my properties. install 17th edition consumer unit with RCD last year so these updates will last 5years now. I was led to believe that Rent Smart Wales required tenants to have sight of electrical inspections and recommend they are carried out every 5 yrs .
I am happy to have checks carried out as I dont know what the tenants are getting up to in the properties and like to make them as safe as I can .

Seething Landlord

20:06 PM, 22nd January 2020
About 2 months ago

Please note that there is an explanatory memorandum accompanying the Regulations, which can be downloaded at
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934/resources
It includes: Luke Spanton at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (0303 44 41693 or luke.spanton@communities.gov.uk) can be contacted with any queries regarding the instrument.

JJ

11:35 AM, 23rd January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 22/01/2020 - 20:06
That's helpful, thank you.

12.12 in that document says that:
- in order to allow the market time to adjust and ensure there are sufficient numbers of competent and qualified inspectors and testers, the introduction of the requirement is phased. T
- the regulations will first apply to new tenancies and existing tenancies will come into scope after one year.

What I also thought was interesting is that the report (13.2) says that the majority of landlords have small portfolios, the average number of properties owned is 2.3 and that 62% of landlords only own a single rented property.

Rob Crawford

12:14 PM, 23rd January 2020
About 2 months ago

I have not read all the comments made on this article but the following may eleviate some concerns. The draft regulation requires a 5 yearly "inspection and test" of a rented property in compliance with the 18th edition wiring regulations. Chapter 65 of the 18th edition is titled "Periodic Inspection & Testing", so it is this chapter that needs to be complied with. Not the design and installation requirements of a new wiring system! Within chapter 65 section 651.2 Note 2: "Existing installations may have been designed and installed to conform to previous editions of BS7671, applicable at the time of their design and erection. This does not necessarily mean they are unsafe." So no need to rewire etc if you have an earlier deign to 18th edition. You will still be compliant with 18th editions as long as the wiring system is safe! See this video that discusses the changes between 17th and 18th editions. Go to count 15:16 where you can see this statement. Video: https://www.flameport.com/wiring_regulations/BS7671_18th_edition/bs7671_18th_changes_part6.cs4

Chris Harris

12:53 PM, 23rd January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 17/01/2020 - 10:34
See the headlines

"Shelter demand that tenants not evicted from property with non compliant electrics"

ummm...

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