New safety standards for landlords – what you need to know

by 06/07/2020

New legislation which all landlords need to be aware of continues to come at us thick and fast.

Following closely after the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards in April and the second part of the Tenant Fees Act in June, landlords now need to turn their attention to the new electrical safety standards which came into force on 1st July. All electrical installations must now be inspected and tested by a qualified person before a new tenancy begins (from 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies).

If you’re living in one of the 4.6 million or so households in the private rented sector in the UK1, this is great news. Faulty or incorrectly installed electrical equipment is believed to be responsible for more than 20,000 fires in UK homes each year2, so the new legislation should give tenants real peace of mind.

Rented properties will need to be certified as safe by way of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) prepared by a suitably qualified person, and landlords will have to supply the report to each tenant within 28 days of the inspection and retain a copy until the next inspection is due. Landlords will also need to ensure the installations are inspected and tested at least every five years thereafter.

If the report finds that remedial work is needed, this must be carried out within 28 days of the original inspection by a qualified person with written confirmation being obtained. If the local authority believes the remedial work has not been carried out, they may send an approved person to undertake the work and recover reasonable costs from the landlord. In addition, local authorities have the right to impose a fine for breaches of up to £30,000.

That’s a lot for anyone to take in at the moment, especially for those landlords who are self-managing, so the next few weeks are a good opportunity to get in touch with your customers and make sure they’re aware of the new rules.

You could also add entries in your diary for five years’ time to remind them that their inspection and testing certificate needs renewing. Just remember to leave enough time for them to book in an electrician as there is likely to be a surge in demand for qualified people close to the deadline as other landlords look to do the same.

With landlords facing ever increasing challenges, it’s important we all work together to ensure they’re kept up-to-date with all of the latest developments.

1 English Housing Survey: headline report

2 Electrical Safety First: Fire Fact Sheet

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