If you are a landlord with a property or properties in England, are you aware of the new electrical standards that come into force with effect from the 1st of July on any new tenancy you grant?
Official guidance on the new standards for England and their implementation was published on the 1st of June and forewarned landlords that they will be extended not only to new tenancies but also to all existing tenancies with effect from the 1st of April 2021.
New electrical safety regulations
The principal objective of the new regulations is to ensure the safety of tenants concerning electrical supplies and installations in their rented accommodation.
This relies on regular inspection and testing – just as there are already such regulations governing gas.
The new electrical standards regulations make the following broad provisions:
- an initial inspection and test of the electrical installation in any let property must be made by a qualified electrician;
- that test and inspection must be repeated at least every five years; and
- the inspecting electrician must write a safety report – a copy of which must be provided to the tenants within 28 days and, if so requested, also to the local authority.
What the new standards say
On the 6th of May, Landlord Today also referred its readers to guidance published by National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT). This makes clear that, in future, all electrical installations in any rental property must comply with British Standard 7671, contained in the 18th edition of the “Wiring Regulations”.
To help landlords – and their tenants – better understand the testing and checks that are involved, NAPIT has formulated a simplified Landlord Electrical Installation Safety Record. This is together with a user-friendly and readable summary of what might otherwise be an overly technical Condition Report.
Copies of electrical safety reports
Not only must you obtain an electrical safety report that complies with these standards, but you must:
- make a copy of it available to your tenants;
- provide a copy to the local authority if they ask for it;
- keep a copy of the report to show to the inspecting electrician when the next test of the electrical installation is made (in other words, within at least the next five years).
From time to time the electrical tests and inspections you commission may reveal the need for remedial work or further investigation. In that event, you must carry out the work or complete any further investigation within 28 days – or a shorter time if that is stated in the relevant safety inspection report.
You must then send written confirmation that the work has been done satisfactorily – as confirmed by your qualified electrician – and that confirmation must be sent to the local authority and to your tenants within 28 days.
If you are in breach of the regulations, you may face a fine of up to £30,000. In the event of an unfavourable or failed safety report, your local authority can serve a remedial notice setting out what work must be done to make the electrical installation safe.
If you fail to take action in accordance with the remedial notice, or if the existing electrical installation poses an immediate threat to life, the local authority can arrange for the work to be done – and charge you after the event.
Finally, if there are any aspects of the new legislation that is unclear, please contact your local council for clarification.