Commenting on the imminent introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in the Private Rented Sector, ECA Technical Director Mike Smith commented:
“We greatly welcome this new commitment to mandatory electrical safety checks, which comes into effect on 1 June 2020. This new legal duty will help to protect millions in rented accommodation across England by requiring electrical inspection and testing by a competent person, at least every five years.
The dangers posed by electricity, in terms of both fire and electric shock, need to be taken seriously and they should be properly managed. When the new Regulations are introduced this spring, tenants will be able to hold landlords to account for the safety of the electrical installations in their property. The Regulations will also encourage landlords to look after the electrical safety of their assets in the knowledge that it’s a legal requirement on every private landlord.
It’s vitally important that landlords have the information they need to fully understand and carry out their new legal obligations, and that testing and inspection is carried out by an enterprise that’s been certificated by a reputable third party as competent to carry out these activities.
ECA has long been working with its industry partners to raise safety standards in the private rented sector and we will now work with our Members and the wider industry to help ensure that the electrical safety of all private rented properties get the professional attention they need.
We will also be looking for this new regulatory approach to apply to the social housing sector in the near future, and for wider application in the UK. It’s also vital that local enforcement bodies have the resources to act when necessary, in order to protect tenants.”
Notes on the new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations*
The new Regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2020, are: The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.
The 2020 Regulations impose duties on private landlords (of residential premises in England) in respect of electrical safety standards. Significantly, the new duties do not apply to landlords of social housing. The Regulations require local housing authorities to enforce the duties and include a power to arrange remedial action. The Regulations include*:
Regulation 3(1): this requires a private landlord to ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when residential premises are occupied under a tenancy, and that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person.
Regulation 3(3): which requires a private landlord to obtain a report which gives the results of the inspection and test, supply that report to each tenant within 28 days, and to the local housing authority within 7 days of a request and retain a copy until the next inspection is due. The private landlord must supply a copy of the last report to any new tenant before occupation, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from the prospective tenant.
Regulation 3(4): which provides that, where the report requires the private landlord to carry out further investigative or remedial work, the private landlord must undertake such further investigative or remedial work within 28 days or within such lesser time period as specified in the report.
Regulation 3(5): which provides that the private landlord must obtain and supply written confirmation of completion of such further investigative or remedial work to the tenant and local housing authority.
This requires a private landlord to take remedial action as specified in a remedial notice from the local housing authority (there are appeal provisions).
Regulation 10 also gives a local housing authority a power to arrange urgent remedial action.
*For a definitive description of these Regulations, please see the relevant statutory instrument which is expected to be published soon.