There are many things which cause landlords problems, particularly as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with so many new challenges, landlords must ensure they comply with regulations. Of course, with more than 155 regulations governing the Private Rental Sector, there is a for landlords to bear in mind.

According to the RLA, the Residential Landlords Association, since 2010, the number of laws governing the PRS has grown by 32%. In 2020, new regulations are being implemented, and regulations are being updated.

The Good Estate Agent is keen to ensure local landlords are confident about how to comply with the Regulations. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations are now in effect.

Private landlords must ensure:

  • Their rental property is inspected and tested before new tenancies commence on or after the 1st of July 2020
  • Their rental property is inspected and tested before existing tenancies by 1st of April 2021
  • Electrical safety standards are upheld during a tenancy
  • All electrical installations at the property are inspected and tested b y a qualified person at least every five years

Who can carry out the electrical safety check?

The electrical inspector carrying out the check and testing must hold:

  • Adequate insurance. This should include at least £2 million public liability insurance and £250,000 professional
  • indemnity insurance.
  • A qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671).
  • A qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing, and certification of electrical installations.
  • At least two years’ experience in carrying out periodic inspection and testing

What problems are looked for during the test?

  • A lack of bonding or earthing – these are methods that prevent electrical shocks and which are built into electrical installations
  • Any defective electrical work on the premises
  • Electrical installations which are overloaded
  • Potential electric shock risks or fire hazards

Simple steps for landlords to undertake to comply with Regulations

Most landlords are keen to be proactive in complying with these regulations, and the following steps are recommended:

  • Complete and maintain accurate records
  • Assess the standard of electrical installations
  • Retain copies of the EICR so they can be issued to tenants, respective tenants and the local authority when required

What are the penalties for not complying with the regulations?

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing compliance and they can take the following steps:

  • Demand a copy of the EICR, which the landlord is obliged to provide within seven days
  • Serve a remedial notice if there is reasonable grounds to believe a landlord has breached their duties with respect to the Regulations
  • Arrange for appropriate remedial work to be undertaken and then recover the costs of doing so if the landlord fails to do so and as long as the tenant provides consent
  • Impose a financial penalty or penalties if there is a sustained failure to comply, up to a maximum of £30,000

The Regulations enable a landlord to challenge any remedial notice imposed on them by making written representations within 21 days of being served notice.

Can testing take place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

On the 1st of June 2020, the Government issued the following guidance:

  • Landlords should make every effort to comply with the new electrical safety regulations providing it is possible to do so in line with government guidance on working in people’s homes.
  • Where a household is self-isolating, inspections should not be carried out until the period of isolation has ended, unless required to remedy a direct risk to the household safety. A direct risk is defined as a risk that affects the ability of a tenant to live safely and maintain mental and physical health in the property.
  • Where an individual in the household is shielding, a balancing exercise must be carried out, assessing the age, history and type of system or appliance against the practical considerations of the property. The guidance queries for example whether the shielded person can reside in separate room for the duration of visit. This will heavily depend on the layout of the property and extent of electrical installations at the property – it may not be as feasible for a shielded person to isolate during an electrical safety testing for example as it is for gas safety testing.

If you are a landlord looking for support and guidance, The Good Estate Agent is here to help. We provide a wide range of services for landlords, and we look forward to assisting you, so please contact us today.