Mandatory Electrical Safety Checks for Rental Properties - Everything You Need to Know
A year since it was first announced by the government, the legislation for The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 is finally working its way through Parliament. This will mean, once the Commons and Lords give it the okay, that there will be mandatory electrical safety checks for rental properties as of July 2020.
Many letting agents and landlords expected this to become law in 2019, but the shifting political landscape of the past 12 months saw it take a place on the back burner. With a new majority government in place, electrical checks are back on the table.
Find out what the checks are, who needs to perform these checks, when they need to do them and how often. Here is our guide to mandatory electrical safety checks for rental properties.
Mandatory Electrical Safety Checks - The Basics
From 1st July 2020, landlords or letting agents must perform the checks in all private rental properties at the start of a new tenancy. This includes houses in multiple occupations (HMOs), but not properties in which lodgers live with the landlord.
Essentially, a ‘qualified person’, which means someone able to competently inspect, test and, if necessary, fix electrical installations, must ensure that all electrical items in the property are safe. They need to ensure they meet the relevant safety standards and, if not, the law will give you 28 days to remedy the issue.
For existing tenancies, landlords and letting agents must complete their first mandatory electrical safety checks before 1st April 2021. Following the first check, the law will require further electrical checks by a qualified person at a minimum of every five years.
Electrical Safety Check Paperwork
Landlords are expected to keep electrical safety check paperwork to prove they are complying with the new standards. Duties surrounding this include:
Keeping a written report from the qualified person as to the work carried out, the results of the checks and the deadline for the next round of checks.
Passing this report on to the person who carries out the next test.
Forwarding a copy of the report within 28 days to each tenant living in the property.
Sending a copy to the local authority if they request it. This must be completed within seven days of any such request.
For new tenancies, they must provide the new tenant with a copy of the latest report before the day they move in.
They must also provide a copy for any potential new tenant who requests it within 28 days of them asking for the document.
If any installations are not compliant with the safety standards, landlords must ensure they receive a report once remedial work takes place. They must send a copy to tenants within 28 days confirming that they are fixed or that they require more work and this continues until all issues are fixed.
How Local Authorities Will Enforce the Electrical Safety Standards
Local authorities are duty-bound to enforce the electrical safety standards and bring landlords who fail to perform the checks to book. If you breach the legislation, you could be liable for a fine of up to £30,000 for each breach of the regulations. Multiple breaches could lead to multiple fines.
In situations where the landlord has failed to comply but there are no urgent works that need to take place, the authority will serve a remedial notice. Landlords have 28 days to complete the work described in the notice, or 21 days to submit an argument if they disagree with the notice.
The local authority suspends the notice when it receives the submission from the landlord and has up to seven days to consider it. If it rules for the landlord, it withdraws the notice, if it rules against the landlord, they have 21 days to fulfil the actions outlined.
Where urgent work is required, the local authority can perform these tasks themselves or through a contractor, informing the landlord within seven days of the work beginning.
Other Suggestions for Electrical Safety
In the initial consultation, the government suggested a few ideas that it deemed worthy of becoming a best practice. These included visual checks of electrical items before each new tenancy begins and installing residual current devices (RCDs) in rental properties.
If you want help ensuring your properties and landlords are compliant with these new standards when they come into force, you can outsource your property management to Executive Property Management Solutions. As part of our packages, we look after property maintenance and safety checks, including these new mandatory electrical safety checks. Contact us today on 0208 5757630 to discuss your needs.