Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rental Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1st June 2020. These are generally welcomed as a means of ensuring tenant safety but there is some confusion over who these apply to and when landlords need to have this in place by. Currently Government guidance is showing some inaccuracies and until an updated version is published we will not include a link on this page.
The confusion centres around the fact the Regulations come into force on 1st June 2020 and into effect from 1st July 2020. Essentially this means that the regulations will apply to any new or renewed tenancy granted after the 1st June but landlords have until 1st July 2020 to comply with the provision of an Electrical Safety Certificate – essentially giving them one month to comply with those tenancies signed in the preceding month. The coronavirus lockdown aside this would have been a tight turnaround for landlords but with this as an additional obstacle it might have been very difficult for landlords to comply in time and so it has been surprising to some in the sector that this has not be delayed or concessions applied.
Generally speaking, if you signed a tenancy agreement before 1st June 2020 these regulations will not apply to your tenancy until 1st April 2021 when they will apply to all tenancies. If you signed your tenancy agreement after 1st June 2020 they will apply to your tenancy now. They do not apply to lodging arrangements and there are some other exceptions but if you are renting in the private rented sector they are likely to apply either now or from April next year. If you are unsure then please arrange an appointment with the Student Advice Centre.
So what do the Regulations mean?
These safety regulations operate in a similar way to Gas Safety where landlords are required to undertake an electrical testing of their fixed wiring and provide a tenant with a certificate to show it has been undertaken and the results of that test.
The check/test must be made by a qualified and competent person, in accordance with the regulations, at a maximum of every 5 years. The person undertaking the check can indicate how often they consider the check necessary.
A landlord’s responsibilities:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met.
- Arrange inspection & testing of electrical installations at least every 5 years.
- Complete any remedial or further investigative work
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works
- Keep a copy of the test report
- Provide the local authority a copy of the report within 7 days of any request.
- Give a copy of the inspection & test report to:
any existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection/test.
a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
If the property test ‘fails’, a copy of the failing report must be given to the tenants within 28 days. Within that first 28 days the landlord must commission all necessary remedial work and obtain evidence the standards are met. Within a further 28 days they must give the tenants and the local authority a copy of the original failing report and the confirmation this is now rectified.
How will I know if it has passed or failed?
Look on the report. It will indicate either that it has passed or present any number of fail codes. These will either be:
C1 & C2 potentially dangerous and requires urgent action
C3 - is only a recommendation and so imposes no obligation to do works.
FI – requires further investigation quickly.
What happens if the landlord does not comply?
If a local authority is concerned about a property not meeting the standard they can request to see a copy of the report and serve remedial notices where they believe there is a safety concern of breach of the requirements. Local Authorities can take action themselves and impose a financial penalty of up to £30k on landlords for non-compliance.
This is a legal requirement on the landlord to ensure tenant safety so you are advised to cooperate and allow the contractor appointed by the landlord to undertake the check after having given a minimum of 24 hours notice. Also ensure the contractor identifies who they are before entry.
Until the correct government guidance is published you may wish to find more information on the Shelter website.
To be clear, this does NOT involve the testing of electrical appliances in the property, although it is recommended the landlord PAT tests any they supply. Tenants should ensure any they own are safe too.