The new electrical safety checks, introduced last June for new tenancies, now apply to all existing residential tenancies.

All private residential landlords are now obliged by law to ensure that every electrical installation in their rented premises is inspected and tested at intervals of no more than five years.

The inspection must be carried out by a qualified and competent person and a copy of the engineer’s report must be supplied to each existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection being carried out.

Should the local authority request, it must also be supplied with a copy of the inspection report within 7 days.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into operation from the 1 June 2020 and apply to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020.

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These regulations now apply to all existing tenancies from the 1st of April 2021. This includes all assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy.

Exceptions

There are some limited exceptions which are set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations and include social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of 7 years or more, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.

What about HMOs?

In the case of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – defined as a property rented out by at least three people who are not from one ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen – where the HMO is the tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent, then these Regulations also apply to HMOs.

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 had previously applied and put specific duties on HMO landlords concerning electrical safety.

Now, this aspect of electrical safety in HMOs has been repealed, replaced by the new Electrical Safety Regulations.

In the case of licensable HMOs, those with 5 or more tenants, The Housing Act 2004 regulations have now been amended by these new electrical regulations to require a new mandatory condition in HMO licences ensuring that every electrical installation in the HMO is in proper working order and safe for continued use.

What is required?

The Regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at an interval of at least every five years.

The standards to be met under these new regulations are the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations and where deemed necessary by the inspector, investigative or remedial work must be carried out to ensure that the installation is made safe.

The new standards apply to the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the electrical installation in a property, including all permanently connected equipment.

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations, but it is recommended that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provided for the tenant’s use. They should then supply their tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried.

Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.

Full details here: Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector.

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