What are the new electrical safety standards in the private rented sector?

As the government’s new electrical safety standards come into play, we take a look at everything you need to know about the update and what it means for you as a landlord.

The new regulations, which came into force June 1st 2020, are designed to improve safety in all residential premises (but especially so in the private rented sector), requiring landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified professional at least once every five years.

Keeping up with constantly evolving guidance and legislation as a landlord can be overwhelming, so our aim is to break down some of the changes and how you need to respond:

What do I need to do?

Essentially, you’re being asked to make sure national standards for electrical safety are met – you can find those here: https://electrical.theiet.org/bs-7671/.

As well as having your electrical installations checked every five years, you’ll need a report of this inspection, as well as to supply a copy of this report to your tenant within 28 days (or for new tenants, before they occupy the premises). You may also be required to provide your local authority with a copy, should they request one.

Now crucially, where this report shows that further work is needed to be compliant, this work needs to be completed within 28 days. You’ll then need to supply written confirmation of this completion.

What sort of issues might need remedial work?

The inspection will include looking at things like your wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse boxes, as well as permanent equipment such as showers and extractor fans.

Some of the most common problems that can crop up include things like overloaded electrical installations, risks of electric shocks or fire hazards, or a lack of earthing or bonding.

You won’t need to worry about electrical appliances such as cookers or fridge freezers, as these are covered by the new regulations.

What properties do the new electrical safety standards apply to?

At the moment, the regulations only apply to new tenancies, however, come April 1st 2021, they will be extended to cover all existing tenancies, so it makes sense to get on top of things sooner rather than later!

There are some exceptions to the new rules though, including social housing, student halls of residence and those on a long lease of seven years or more. It’s worth getting familiar with the full list of excluded tenancies before you start making changes to your property: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/312/schedule/1/made

What are the consequences of not complying with the new electrical safety regulations?

If you fail to get your electrical installations inspected, or fail to carry out any of the remedial work, your local authority may arrange for remedial action to be taken themselves, and they can recover the costs from you. Moreover, they can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords in breach of their duties, so it really is worth paying attention to!

How can Hall’s Properties help?

We’re a family-run business, working with landlords for more than 30 years, so we’re well equipped to help you stay up-to-date with regulations. We can also put you in touch with a qualified and competent person to carry out the test of your electrical installations, or simply help you advertise your property to the right tenants. We’re proud to offer a guaranteed management fee of 2% lower than your current provider (subject to 5% minimum fee).

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