Landlords of private rental properties in England who fail to comply could face a fine of up to £30,000 from their local authority.
What do landlords need to do to comply?
Guidance from the Government explains that the majority of landlords are proactive, but the regulations have been put in place to ensure the minority are not endangering their tenants.
Essentially, the Government wants all landlords to do what good landlords already do: make sure the electrical installations in their rental properties are safe. This means that all landlords must:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met, as outlined in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’.
- Ensure all electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years.
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection which gives the results of their tests and sets a date for the next inspection.
- Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection.
- Supply a copy of the report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for a copy.
- Supply the local authority with a copy of the report within 7 days of receiving a request for one.
- Complete any work highlighted in the report within the deadline given.
- Supply the tenant and local authority with written confirmation that work has been undertaken within 28 days of completion.
What will be inspected?
All of the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, i.e. the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings, fuse boxes and permanently connected equipment, like showers and extractor fans, will be inspected. The regulations do not cover electrical appliances, like cookers and televisions, but landlords should regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any appliances that they supply tenants with. All PAT tests should be recorded.
What will the inspection and report show?
The inspection aims to determine the following:
- Whether any electrical installations are overloaded
- If there are any potential shock risks or fire hazards
- If there is any defective electrical work
- If there is a lack of earthing or bonding - these are two ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into installations
The report aims to ensure that the electrical installations are fit for purpose. To do this, inspectors will issue the following codes to indicate whether further works are required:
- C1 - danger present. The inspector may carry out work to make C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.
- C2 - potentially dangerous. Remedial work is required and the report will state that the installation is unsatisfactory for continued use.
- C3 - improvement recommended. Further work is not required, but it would improve the safety of the installation if work was carried out.
- FI - further investigation required. The landlord must ensure further investigative work is carried out.
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Sources: Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (2020) ‘Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector> [Accessed: 9 March 2020]