Following on from the initial consultation, the ‘Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020’ were laid out in Parliament on 13th January. Assuming approval is forthcoming from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in the coming weeks, the new regulations will come into effect from July 2020 for new tenancies and April 2021 for existing tenancies.
Current safety requirements
Currently it is not a mandatory requirement for landlords to provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every five years. The latest regulations state that all landlords should keep the electrics in their properties in good working order to ensure they’re safe. The only exception is if it is a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) then all landlords are required by law to arrange an inspection every five years.
Under the new proposed regulations, it will become mandatory for agents and private landlords to ensure that every single fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested every five years by a qualified electrician, regardless of occupancy. Not only do they have to comply with these but they also have to fulfil a few obligations;
- A copy of the most recent report must be supplied to an existing tenant within 28 days.
- A copy of the last report must be provided to any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request.
- A copy of the last report must be supplied to any new tenant before occupation.
- A copy of the report must be given to the qualified person undertaking the next inspection.
Should the safety report identify any faults, the landlord must ensure that all repairs are completed by a competent and qualified person within 28 days of the initial inspection. Once the remedial work is completed, they must ensure written confirmation is received stating that the work has been carried out and that safety standards are now met. This confirmation must be supplied to the current tenant within 28 days of the work being carried out.
Involvement of local authority
The new regulations require local housing authorities to enforce the rules and they have the power to arrange remedial action.
- Upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within 7 days.
- Where urgent works are required, the local authority must serve a ‘remedial notice’ on the landlord. The landlord will have 28 days from the date of service of the notice to take the action outlined.
- If the landlord does not undertake the remedial works, the local authority can access the property to remedy the issue, then recover costs reasonably incurred from the landlord.
- Proven breaches of the regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.