Beware of electric shocks

Electrical safety regulations coming into effect on 1 April 2021 apply to all residential tenancies, our Q&A is a must for all landlord. Lettings Partner Lucy Nolan explains.  

Beware of electric shocks

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020.  Initially, the regulations required all residential tenancies starting on or after 1st July 2020 in England should have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), but with effect from 1 April 2021, the requirement for EICR’s extends to all tenancies.

So, what does this mean for landlords? These frequently asked questions should help explain

Do all properties need an EICR?

Yes, from 1 April 2021, all residential properties which are let out must have a satisfactory report.

What needs to be checked?

All fixed electrical cables and equipment within the rented property must be inspected and tested by a qualified person. This includes appliances that are fixed directly to the electrical supply, such as showers or fixed kitchen appliances. 

Who carries out the checks?

A qualified person, for peace of mind we would only recommend using reputable electrical engineers.

What if the engineer advises work is required before issuing the EICR?

If the report shows a Code 1 - that remedial work is required, a Code 2 – that further investigative work is necessary, or a Code 3 – requiring further investigation, the landlord must have this done within 28 days (or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report). Written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works must be given to the tenant within 28 days of completion of the works. A Code 3 may list recommendations, but these do not have to be carried out for the EICR to be valid. 

Who holds the EICR?

Landlords/Managing agents will have to provide a copy of the EICR to their tenants as well as to the Local Authority if requested.

Do I need an EICR for every new tenancy?

No, Landlords do not need to have a test done with every new tenancy.  In line with the regulations, inspection and testing must take place at least every five years and the EICR is valid through multiple tenancies.

I am letting a brand-new property; do I need an EICR?

If a property is newly built or has been completely rewired, it should have an Electrical Installation Certificate known as an EIC. Landlords can provide a copy of this EIC to tenants and, if requested, the local authority. The landlord will then not be required to carry out further checks or provide a report for five years after the EIC has been issued, as long as they have complied with their duty or duties under the Regulations.

What if a tenant won’t allow access to the property?  

If the tenant does not provide access, a landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply. A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and electricians as they attempt to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence showing the installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous safety reports.

I have an EICR but it is over five years’ old, is it valid?

Not anymore no, regardless of whether it states that is still valid, the report will not be applicable for these regulations. To comply with the legislation, a landlord must have the electrical installation inspected and tested at intervals of no longer than every five years

What happens if I don’t have an EICR?

If Landlords fail to meet these regulations, local authorities can issue a fine up to £30,000. Before imposing a financial penalty, the local authority must serve a Notice of Intent within six months from when the landlord is in breach outlining the amount, reasons and right to appeal.

With ever changing safety regulations and legislation affecting letting of property, it's important to have a managing agent who ensures that you stay ahead of the game. Contact Lucy or a member of our qualified and experienced letting agents to discuss the letting of your property. 

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