Electrical Safety Standards – What Landlords Need to Know
With all the disruption of 2020, UK landlords have another pressure to bear in mind.
New electrical safety inspection rules were announced earlier this year, and come into force from 1st April 2021 for all existing tenancies.
As a Chichester letting agent with years of experience supporting a vast range of landlords, we’ve created this article to explain how the new rules work, who they apply to, and what you can do to safeguard the compliance of your rental portfolio.
For further information, advice and practical support, contact the Tod Anstee lettings team for a confidential chat.
The Changing Electrical Safety Legislation
These new rules are called The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. It might be a long-winded title, but the content is all-important for landlords to understand, whether you own one residential rental property, or let out substantial HMOs!
Here’s how the implementation dates work:
- If you have a new tenant at any point from 1st July 2020, the new rules apply.
- For existing tenancies, you have until 1st April 2021 to get your ducks in a row.
This is good news, in that you have a few months yet to ensure your electrical safety is up to date – however, we can’t stress enough how vital it is to move quickly & avoid falling foul of the new controls.
As we get closer to the implementation date, contractors will be inundated with last-minute requests, and so having your installations checked and verified now will save a lot of headaches further down the road!
In terms of the practical steps required, landlords need to make sure that every electrical installation is tested and checked at least every five years. The testing needs to be carried out by a qualified professional, so, unfortunately, this isn’t something you can do yourself:
- You’ll need an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
- Copies of the reports need to be supplied to your tenants within 28 days.
- Further copies must be submitted to the local housing authority in seven days, should they issue a written request.
- Landlords need to hold onto reports until the next test and provide the new inspection professional with the previous report.
- New tenants must also be given copies within 28 days, before they move in, or if they request a copy.
It is essential to make sure you have an up to date EICR report, and that the suitable copies have been distributed. Local authorities can fine up to £30,000 for a breach of duty, and there isn’t any wiggle room to defer the new regulations.
We’d also point out that local authorities can serve a remedial notice on any landlord. If you receive such an instruction, you have 28 days to carry out the work, or risk the authority carrying it out and charging you for it!
Should you already have an electrical safety report – with a satisfactory rating – within the last five years, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. Existing reports must be reviewed to establish:
- If any recommendations were made, and if so, whether they have been carried out.
- Whether the property has changed in the meantime – i.e. damage, repairs or renovations.
- The tenant turnover, with a high turnover rate requiring a fresh inspection.
Professional Landlord Support Throughout COVID-19
Given the UK’s current lockdown situation, and uncertainty about how restrictions will evolve with time, finding an electrical contractor and making sure you’re getting value for money is another job on your to-do list that likely comes at the worst possible time.
As the landlord, you are responsible for making sure your electrical inspector meets all the following criteria:
- Holds at least £2 million public liability and £250k professional indemnity insurance.
- Qualified to BS 7671, and in the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations.
- Has at least two years of experience of the above.
There are some shortcuts to finding a suitably qualified professional – for example, a contractor on the NAPIT Electrical Inspector Register should meet all these requirements.
However, a faster and easier way is to contact the Tod Anstee team. We have a network of personally vetted suppliers, who meet competency requirements, offer cost-effective services, and cover rental properties across Chichester and the surrounding area.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have also implemented safe working practises in line with governmental guidance, so any professional we recommend will be legally sound and able to carry out the work without risk or inconvenience to your tenants.
If you’d like to find a local electrician to get your testing up to date, give us a call – we’ll make sure you get a reminder in five years to guarantee your inspection reports are kept bang up to date!
Expert Advice for Chichester Property Investors
When it comes to managing a rental property, we appreciate that there are copious rules, regulations and obligations to be aware of.
New electrical safety statutes are the latest factor, and while the guidance might be complicated, having an accredited letting agent as your partner ensures that the finer details are smoothly managed to secure compliance well ahead of deadlines.
The landscape is continuously changing, and keeping up with new laws as they are announced, and making sure you are 100% compliant, can be a hurdle for busy professionals!
Tod Anstee is an ARLA registered firm, with a focus on outstanding client support, looking after properties and tenants with highly competitive commission rates.
We offer a comprehensive letting service, to allow our landlords to focus on running their business, including:
- Guidance with rental property legislation.
- Sourcing and vetting new tenants.
- Contractual and lease paperwork.
- Deposit and finance management.
- Tenant liaison and local authority communications.
- Support with the profitable management of rental portfolios.
Leveraging over 30 years of experience, and high-profile exposure over the leading rental portals ensures that the Tod Anstee team can safely and professionally manage any size of rental property, taking a weight of responsibility from our clients.
From first-time property investors to experienced professional landlords, if you require advice about how to promptly implement new testing processes to protect the safety of your rental properties, we are on hand to help.