New electrical checks and safety standards for Landlords

by Property 118

8:59 AM, 15th January 2020
About 2 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

Badger

17:10 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 24/01/2020 - 16:30It is the absence of a *NOTICE* to that effect that causes the C3, not the presence of red and black cables.
https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/media/2149/bpg4-1.pdf
It would be truly ludicrous to suggest that red and black cable should be replaced.
(Although I certainly wouldn't bet the life of my children on some idiot not coming up with that regulation at some point in the future...)
There is nothing wrong with correctly installed cables in the old colours and no reason to change them if they remain in good condition. Cable of any colour will require replacement if their condition becomes poor at some point. There is absolutely no reason to suspect that red and black cable is any more likely to deteriorate than any other PVC cable.

Luke P

17:25 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 24/01/2020 - 17:10But the proposed regulations state (unintentionally or otherwise) that ALL private rented property must conform to Eighteenth Edition AT ALL TIMES. Almsot as though it were a complete new build, effectively. Despite common sense. That’s what’s being highlighted (and misunderstood by electricians and some LLs).

Seething Landlord

17:40 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 24/01/2020 - 17:10I think we are all aware that at present there is no requirement to update the installation to meet current standards as long as it is safe. The problem is that the draft regulations appear to change that situation and that is what this discussion is all about.
Regarding competence to carry out inspections I suggest that you read the explanatory memorandum.

EECLondon

19:55 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 24/01/2020 - 17:10
There is no requirement to replace red & black cables. The 18th Edition says you only need to report on non-compliance that is not safe. So if it is safe you don't report it or may give it a C3 with a note that it complied with a previous edition of the regulations. The reason you may report on some C3 items it is to assist on what period a report should be valid for. It also gives information should the owners be considering a refurbishment of the dwelling. A plastic CCU in the dwelling would attract a C3 code for the purpose of good records. A plastic CCU under a stairs that is not fire rated should get a C2 with a note that the stairs is not fire rated. The user may choose to fire rate the underside of the stairs. A plastic CCU in the garage need not attract any code. The garage should have been built as a 1 hour fire compartment.( people put cars and other such explosive equipment in garages).

EECLondon

20:12 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 24/01/2020 - 15:57
You only need to do a PAT test for electrical goods you provide. I am not aware there is a legal requirement to do PAT testing in a private rented dwelling, however, it is worth taking photo as records the casing,lead & plug tops are not damaged. In HMO the Local Authority are likely to require PAT testing records because of shared kitchens etc.

EECLondon

20:27 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 24/01/2020 - 15:04
On the points of the regulations you need to read the BS7671 (18th Edition) regulation: Extract: 653.2.- any non-compliance with the requirements of BS7671 which give rise to danger. (BS7671 is the proper name of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations) So it must give rise to danger in the opinion of the inspector. If red and black cables and plastic CCU are in good order they don't need to be reported on.

Luke P

21:07 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by EECLondon at 24/01/2020 - 19:55
For goodness sake EECLondon, obviously you’re electrical knowledge is unquestionable, but you clearly don’t understand the way legislation, particularly that which affects the PRS, is brought in. They’re *not* changing anything with regard the Eighteenth Edition, but effectively saying all BTL must be up to brand new installation, Eighteenth Edition standard with no exceptions. It is (hopefully) unintentional. But as it stands there’s no ‘advisory notices’ (sorry, I don’t understand the technical terminology) and despite what me, others or you might believe to be common sense, they are saying rip everything out and do it as per Eighteenth Edition. Please understand this.

steve p

23:59 PM, 24th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Guys I think you are all getting a little confused EECLondon is correct, the latest edition of BS7671:2018 allows for old installations to be compliant as long as they are not deemed to be dangerous. Thats what he was trying to explain. Even not having RCD's could be potentially acceptable in certain circumstances.

I think getting hold of electricians from Dec 20 to Apr 21 is going to be like trying to be as rare as rocking horse poop. Thankfully I will be a fully qualified electrician by then so not an issue.

I know its not going to be cheap (circa £200 to £300 for a proper EICR) but its only as expensive or cheaper than a gas safety cert that you have to do every year where as the EICR lasts 5yrs.

EECLondon

0:34 AM, 25th January 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 24/01/2020 - 21:07Below is an extract from the 2020 Housing Regulation: Note the words electrical safety standards: In such; means Red & Black cables are not dangerous or potentially dangerous. Not a safety issue. Plastic CCU are not a safety issue. It just means you cannot install them in a domestic dwelling under the current regulations.
Extract:
“electrical safety standards” means the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018
Note.
In 2014, two million private landlords owned and let five million properties in the UK.
If that is anything to go by all the electricians in the planet and qualified to sign of reports in the UK would not bring them all up to date in 28 days.
It is usually fire alarms, smoke alarms & emergency lighting that should be brought up to current standards when regulations change. How many landlords know in a domestic dwelling that is rented the smoke/heat alarm installed should have an 10 year battery that cannot be removed by the occupiers. BS5839 Part 6 2019.
If any Landlord Lord need advise they can call the NICEIC. You don't have to be a member.

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