A Guide to Electrical Safety for Landlords
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require that all new and existing tenancies have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
With around 30 people dying each year and thousands more injured as a result of burns and electrical shocks, the change in the law is aimed at protecting tenants from the dangers posed by faulty electrics.
We look at what the new regulations mean for landlords and what precisely an EICR involves.
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What do the new regulations require?
The new regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their rental properties inspected and tested by a ‘qualified’ and ‘competent’ person at least every five years. Landlords must supply a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and to the local authority if requested.
The regulations came into force from 1st July 2020 for all new tenancies and all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021. If you are renting a property and have not commissioned an EICR, you are in breach of this legislation.
What is a ‘qualified and competent person?
Carrying out electrical inspections is a complex task. The law says that you must use a ‘competent’ and ‘qualified’ person for electrical work on your rental property. We recommend that you use an electrician registered with one of the government-approved bodies. You can find registered electricians on the Electrical Safety First website.
How much does an electrical safety certificate cost?
Expect an Electrical Installation Condition Report to cost between £80 and £150. The price will depend on the size of your home and the complexity of the job. Electrician’s hourly rates vary, so it is worth getting a few quotes.
What types of tenancy do the regulations cover?
If a private tenant has the right to occupy the property as their only or main residence and pays rent then the regulations apply. The new rules also apply to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and repeal previous legislation that set the standard for HMO landlords.
What will happen at the inspection?
The electrician will test and inspect the fixed electrical installations in the property. This includes fuse boxes, wiring, plug sockets, light fittings, electric showers and extractor fans.
They will not check electrical items which can be moved around, such as TV’s, white goods, kettles and toasters.
The electrician will give you an Electrical Installation Condition Report with the findings of the inspection.
What if my report shows remedial work is required?
The inspector will assign the following classification codes to show whether remedial work is required.
- C1: Danger present, risk of injury (the electrician must make these safe before leaving the property)
- C2: Potentially dangerous
- F1: Further investigation required
- C3: Improvement recommended
If C1, C2 or F1 codes are identified on the report, landlords must complete this work within 28 days (or the period specified in the report, whichever is shorter). Landlords must obtain written confirmation from a qualified and competent person that the remedial work or further investigation has been carried out and the property now meets electrical safety standards. This confirmation must be supplied, together with a copy of the EICR report, to both the tenants and the local housing authority.
What happens if I don’t comply with these regulations?
Local authorities have a duty to take action against landlords who breach the rules and can impose financial penalties of up to £30,000.
What about PAT testing?
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 do not cover portable electrical appliances. Although Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is not a legal requirement, we recommend that it is carried out on all moveable electrical appliances provided by the landlord. PAT testing should be conducted at least every two years by a qualified electrician, but you might want to do this more frequently to be on the safe side.
We can help
If you are a landlord in Newington Green, Stoke Newington, Islington or Highbury, we would love to hear from you. Our lettings and property management team can organise your Electrical Installation Condition Report and PAT testing and help you ensure that you are complying with all your other landlord legal obligations. Contact us today.