New Electricity Safety Regulations came into force on 1 July 2020
The new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Sector (England) Regulations 2020 is a new requirement effective from 1st July 2020. This is a further Regulation set by Parliament in the continued efforts to ensure tenant safety. Whilst most landlords adhere to such requirements without the need for regulations, there are nonetheless some landlords who disregard the safety of a tenant, and fail to maintain the minimum standard within their let property.
What is required?
The new Regulations require all landlords to ensure that the electrical installations in the property are inspected and tested at least every 5 years, by a competent person. A copy of the Electrical Certificate will also have to be provided to the tenant, as well as making the same available for the Local Authority if requested.
Who does this Regulation apply to?
At present, the requirement of the Electrical Inspection Report is for all new tenancy agreements commencing on or after 1 July 2020, however for all existing tenancy agreements, the electrical safety inspection and report will need to be carried out by the following year, by 1st April 2021. This regulation applies to all tenancy agreements and private tenants including HMO, however there are some exceptions such as lodger arrangements, long leases more than 7 years, student halls, hostels, hospitals, refuges, care homes and other accommodation provided for healthcare.
In addition to the requirement of obtaining the Electrical Inspection Report, there is a requirement for the report to be updated every 5 years.
What is to be included in the report?
The Electrical report requires an inspection and testing of the fixed electrical parts of the wiring, to include the wiring, plug sockets, fuse box, but not electrical appliances such as kettles and toasters. The report is required to comment on the inspection which will look to any potential hazards, defective electrical work, and poor installation.
The report will state whether works are required or not, and if works are required, these will be coded under headings of “Danger Present, Risk of Injury”, “Potentially Dangerous”, “Further Investigation” or “Improvement Recommended”. All of the codes required for the landlord to undertake the remedial works, except for those highlighted as recommended improvements.
The landlord must provide the report obtained within 28 days of receipt to their tenants, and for any new tenants, the report must be provided before the start of the tenancy. Should the local authority request a copy of the report, this must be provided within 7 days.
Should the inspection report highlight remedial works to be conducted, these works will need to be undertaken, and again written confirmation must be provided to the tenant and local authority within 28 days that the works have been undertaken.
Failing to Comply
Should the landlord fail to undertake the remedial works, the local authority has the power to enforce these Regulations against the Landlord. The Local Authority is able to serve a remedial notice on the landlord to undertake the works, and if the works are not undertaken, the local authority may intervene to undertake the works themselves and recover the costs from the landlord. The local authority is also able to issue a civil penalty up to £30,000 against the landlord .
Unlike other requirements (such as protection of a deposit, service of Prescribed Information or service of an Energy Performance Certificate) on a landlord which result in the landlord’s inability to recover possession against their tenant should the requirement not be complied with, these new Regulations appear to have no impact on the landlords ability to serve a section 21 notice under the Housing Act 1988 should they fail to comply with this requirement.
The reason for this, may be due to the intention to abolish the section 21 in its entirety. Of course, the tenant is able to raise a complaint with the local authority, who may then seek to enforce or impose a civil penalty and fine against the landlord, so landlords should not be complacent.