The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

May 2020

The Government has published The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Act’) which are due to come into force on 1 June 2020 and impose duties on private landlords of residential properties in England in respect of electrical safety standards.

The Regulations apply to new tenancies which begin on or after 1 July 2020.

Existing tenancies will need to comply from the 1 April 2021.

Most tenancies are caught by the regulations, although a number of tenancies including long leases, tenancies granting a right of occupation for a term of seven or years or more, social or resident landlords, holiday lettings, care homes, and licences for lodgers (where the occupier is sharing accommodation with the landlord) are excluded.

The draft regulations require private landlords in England to:

· Ensure that the electrical safety standards (the standards for electrical installations in the 18th edition of the Institution of Engineering and Technology wiring regulations (BS7671:2018)) are met when the premises are let under a tenancy;

· Ensure that a qualified person inspects and tests every fixed electrical installation in the premises at intervals of no more than 5 years and produces a report to the landlord (some reports only last a year and so landlords will need to check the length of the report before commissioning a new report);

· Carry out the first inspection and test before a tenancy commences, in respect of tenancies commencing on or after 1 July 2020;

· Carry out the first inspection and test before 1 April 2021 for existing tenancies;

· For existing tenancies, supply a copy of the report to each tenant within 28 days, and if requested by the local housing authority, within 7 days of request;

· Supply a copy of the most recent report to a new tenant before occupation, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from the prospective tenant;

· Keep a copy of the report and give it to the person carrying out the next inspection; and

· Carry out further investigative or remedial work within 28 days of the report or within the period specified in the report and supply written confirmation of completion of such further investigative or remedial work to the tenant and local housing authority within 28 days of this work being carried out.

If landlords fail to carry out further investigative or remedial work (where the work is not urgent) the local housing authority will serve a ‘remedial notice’ on the landlord. The landlord then has 28 days to make the improvements or will be given 21 days to object.

If the landlord doesn’t make the necessary improvements or the remedial work is urgent, the local housing authority can access the property with the tenants’ permission to do the work. If the tenants refuse access, the landlord will not be in breach of this requirement. Landlords have the right to appeal against the decision of the local housing authority to take that remedial action.

Landlords who fail to comply with the Act are liable to face fines of up to £30,000.

The regulations also seek to amend the electrical safety regulations which currently affect Houses in Multiple Occupation (‘HMOs’) in England to propose new mandatory conditions for licenses to ensure that every electrical installation is in proper working order and safe for continued use.

New covering letters to send electrical reports to prospective and existing tenants, as well as the local housing authority, have been added to the portfolio. There have been updates to the property health and safety policies, compliance checklist and guidance on HMO’s to reflect these legislative changes.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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