6 things landlords should know about electrical safety

5 months ago
6 things landlords should know about electrical safety

Tenant safety should never be far from a landlord’s mind. In light of a new set of best practice guidelines being issued by Electrical Safety First, we take a broader look at electrical safety in privately rented properties. Here are six things landlords should know:  

An EICR in a privately rented property is compulsory

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 applies to all tenancies in England. An EICR (an Electrical Installation Condition Report) has been mandatory since 1st April 2021, and a report should be produced after an electrical inspection every five years in order for landlords to achieve legal compliance.  

1. Landlords should follow new best practice guidelines

Although EICRs have been a vital part of levelling up the private rented sector by forcing landlords to remedy unsafe electrical elements, Electrical Safety First felt there was still room for improvement. In November, it issued its new Best Practice Guide 10: Electrical safety standards in the private rented sector to help landlords prepare for electrical testing.

The guide clearly sets out to all those involved in private rentals – landlords, tenants, electricians and letting agents – the requirements of relevant legislation. The advice covers how electrical checks should be conducted and how faults should be recorded.  

2. There are compulsory timeframes for action should an EICR uncover issues

An EICR is applicable across the UK, taking the form of an in-depth report following a check of all the electrical circuits in a property. The report will detail any dangers, such as deterioration, defects, damage or non-compliances with current safety standards. Landlords are legally bound to follow a time frame for repair and replacement. 

Any recommended investigative or remedial work detailed in an EICR must be carried out within 28 days – or within the period specified in the report if sooner – starting from the date of the inspection, Landlords should specifically ask a qualified trade to undertake the work. 

The landlord must supply written confirmation that remedial works have been completed to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion.

3. There’s a compulsory administrative process for landlords to follow after an EICR

Once an EICR has been issued, landlords are duty bound to supply the EICR to each existing tenant within the premises within 28 days of the inspection, and also supply a copy of the EICR to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request from the authority. 

Additionally, the landlord must retain a copy of the EICR to give to the qualified person that carries out the next inspection and test, and supply a copy of the most recent EICR to new tenants and to prospective tenants who request to see it.

4. Landlords must adhere to the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations

These standards are published as British Standard 7671 and govern what a competent electrician should look for and test when in a privately rented property, specifically looking for fire hazards, instances of overload, potential for electric shock and defects. 

They will inspect the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of a property, like the wiring, the plug sockets, the light fittings, electric showers, extractor fans, electric vehicle charging points and the consumer unit (or fuse box).

5. The 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations do not apply to white goods and small appliances

It is recommended that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliances that they provide to tenants, sharing the records with the property manager and/or tenants as a mark of good practice. 

6. Electrical safety standards are similar, but different, in Wales and Scotland

Sections 13 (4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) act 2006 require private landlords, by law, to have an electrical safety inspection and PAT testing for any portable appliances. In Wales, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act requires all rented homes to have inspection and testing (PIT) of the electrical installation. In both Scotland and Wales, the testing should happen at least every five years and should result in an EICR.  

If you would like help with meeting lettings compliance, including electrical safety, contact our lettings team today.

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