New Law for the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector
(England) Regulations 2020
Electrical Safety Regulations 18th Edition BS7671 to come into force for landlords
Subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament landlords and agents. The Landlords and real state agencies will ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1 July 2020.
The Government has laid The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 meaning landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person. The Regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due.
Upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within 7 days and remedial work within the 28 days.
The Regulations require local housing authorities to enforce the rules and they have the power to arrange remedial action.
Proven breaches of the Regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
Electrical Installation Condition Reports
Once the electrical installation has been tested, the landlord must:
- Ensure they receive a written report from the person conducting the inspection, which includes the results and the required date for the next inspection
- Supply a copy of this report to each existing tenant living in the property within 28 days of the inspection
- Supply a copy within seven days to the local authority, if they request a copy
- Keep a copy of the report until the next inspection, and give a copy to the person undertaking the next inspection.
For new tenancies, the landlord must:
- Give a copy of the most recent report to a new tenant before the tenant occupies the property
- Give a copy of the most recent report to any prospective new tenant who requests the report in writing, within 28 days of receiving such a request.
Fix issues or faults In the property
If the electrical safety report identifies a fault or potential fault, which the landlord must either investigate further or repair, the landlord must ensure further investigations or repairs are completed by a qualified person within 28 days of the inspection, or within the timeframe set out in the report if this is shorter.
Following these further investigations or repairs, the landlord must ensure they receive written confirmation that these have been carried out and that either the electrical safety standards are met, or further work is required.
This confirmation must be supplied to each existing tenant and to the local housing authority within 28 days of the work being undertaken, along with the original report identifying further work is required.
This process must be repeated until the electrical installation is found to be compliant.
Enforcement by the law
If a landlord breaches the above requirements, the local authority has a duty to act. Where urgent works are not required, the local authority must serve a ‘remedial notice’ on the landlord. This must be served within 21 days of the local authority deciding it has reasonable grounds to act. The landlord will have 28 days from the date of service of the notice to take the action outlined, or must make written representations within 21 days if they disagree with the notice.
Once the landlord has made written representations, the remedial notice is suspended until the local authority responds – which must be within seven days. If the local authority confirms the notice, the suspension ceases, and the landlord has 21 days to comply with the requirements.
If the tenants of the property refuse access to the landlord for these remedial works, the landlord will not be considered to have breached this duty purely because they have not brought legal proceedings to access the property.
If the landlord does not undertake the remedial works, the local authority can access the property with the tenants’ permission to remedy the issue. The local authority must serve notice to the landlord informing them of this action – to which the landlord can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. Local authorities can also recover costs reasonably incurred from the landlord.
Where urgent remedial works are required and the landlord has not undertaken these, the local authority can arrange for the works to be undertaken. The local authority must inform the landlord within seven days of the works commencing.