Electrical Safety Checks for Landlords

Electrical safety in rental properties is governed by the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. These standards aim to ensure rental properties are safe for tenants by requiring regular checks and maintenance of electrical installations.

Stay informed about your responsibilities as a UK landlord by reading the guide below.

Legal requirements for landlords

Under the recent regulations, landlords are responsible for ensuring that electrical installations in their rental properties are inspected and tested by a qualified person at least once every five years. Landlords must obtain a report from the inspector, detailing the results and any necessary remedial action.

The regulations have applied to all new and existing tenancies since 1st April 2021. This includes assured shorthold tenancies, student lettings, and licences to occupy, with a few exceptions (such as social housing and long leases).

Landlords must ensure that inspections are carried out regularly – at intervals of no more than five years, or more frequently if specified in a previous report. The inspection must be conducted by a qualified person, which typically means someone registered with a competent person scheme specific to electrical safety.

Before hiring someone, landlords should verify the electrician's qualifications and ensure they are insured to carry out the inspection. It is the landlord's responsibility to confirm the electrician's competence and credentials.

Conducting electrical inspections

An electrical safety inspection involves a thorough check of the property's electrical installations. This includes wiring, socket-outlets, light fittings, and the consumer unit (fuse box). The inspection aims to identify any damage, wear, or defects that might affect safety.

The electrician will test all fixed electrical parts of the property by comparing them against the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations, BS 7671. The results of the inspection are recorded in an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which lists any observed damage, deterioration, and non-compliance with current safety standards that might give rise to danger.

Following the inspection, the landlord receives a copy of the EICR from the qualified professional. This document also details the condition of the electrical installations and lists any remedial action required to ensure the property meets safety standards.

The landlord must ensure any issues are resolved within 28 days, or sooner if stated in the report. Proof of the completed remedial work, in the form of written confirmation from the electrician, must be provided to the tenant and, if requested, the local authority.

Landlords must keep copies of the EICR, any records of remedial work, and confirmation that the work was completed. These documents should be provided to existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection and to new tenants before they move in. If the local authority requests the EICR, the landlord must supply it within seven days of the request.

Records of each inspection must be kept until the next one takes place, and landlords should provide copies to the electrician conducting the next inspection. This ensures a continuous record of electrical safety is maintained.

Penalties for non-compliance

Landlords who fail to comply with the Electrical Safety Standards may face enforcement action from their local authority. This can include a demand to complete the necessary work or a fine of up to £30,000. Local authorities have the power to serve remedial notices on landlords who fail to carry out safety measures within the given timeframe.

Beyond the formal inspection, landlords should regularly check the condition of electrical appliances and installations. Regular checks can identify and rectify potential hazards before they escalate. Encouraging tenants to report any electrical issues promptly can also help maintain safety standards.

Landlords should also ensure tenants know how to turn off the electricity supply in an emergency. Providing clear instructions and information about the electrical system can help prevent accidents and ensure tenants can take quick action in case of faults.

Landlords must inform tenants when inspections are due with plenty of notice, and ensure access is provided for these checks to be carried out. Educating tenants on the safe use of electrical systems and appliances can further reduce risks.

Regular electrical inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure the safety of tenants and compliance with legal requirements. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, landlords can provide safe living environments and avoid significant penalties.

To stay up-to-date with changing landlord obligations, or to understand your responsibilities for tenancies, employ the expert advice of the team at AST Assistance. We can help with the running of your tenancy portfolio and ensure that you meet all your obligations. Contact us today by calling 01706 619954 or by filling out our contact form.

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