Landlords and letting agents have been advised to keep a paper trail of communication to avoid enforcement action if they can’t meet the new Electrical Safety Standards that go live today.
All tenancies in England are now covered by the regulations that require landlords to ensure all fixed electrical installations are safe and maintained correctly – and face a fine of up to £30,000 if they don’t. However, the government recognises that Covid restrictions can mean it is more difficult to comply with the regulations and says: “For this reason, we have written guidance to address the concerns people may have about carrying out work during the pandemic to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards.”
Propertymark has warned the government that the huge task of ensuring all rented homes comply in time was unlikely and that an “anticipated and widespread failure in compliance” would follow. Policy and campaigns manager, Timothy Douglas, says: “Importantly, due to the impact of the pandemic, where work is unable to be carried out, letting agents should document all activity relating to arranging, planning and scheduling work. Creating a paper trail of communication between tenants, landlords and electricians will help safeguard agents against any enforcement activity in order to show they have done everything they can to comply.”
Landlords must now have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years. This includes the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, such as wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box along with permanently connected equipment including showers and extractors. They must then give a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and the local authority if requested.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 previously put specific duties on landlords around electrical safety but HMOs are now covered by these new regulations.