As a landlord, you understand the importance of tenant safety. Not all landlords do though, so the UK government has introduced new public protection regulations.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020 are a new set of rules to follow. Aside from safety concerns, local councils can also issue penalties of up to £30,000 if you breach this law.
This guide discusses the new electrical regulations for landlords, which includes:
- Property types
New electrical regulations for landlords
The primary purpose of the new electrical regulations for landlords ensure you carry out appropriate checks. You must have inspections and testing from a qualified person at least every five years.
Obtain the report that includes the results and sets up the next inspection date. You’ll pass on that information to your current tenants within 28 days of the inspection.
Before a new tenant moves into your property, you’re required to give them a copy of the report. In addition, if requested before, you must provide it within 28 days.
If the local council asks for a copy, you have seven days to give them one. When you carry out the following test after five years, also give the inspector a copy of the last one.
Your report might find work to complete to bring the property’s electrical installations up to standard. In that case, you have 28 days to do that.
After the remedial work, you must send a written confirmation of completion from the electrician to the council and tenant within 28 days.
These new electrical regulations for landlords apply to properties that a rent-paying tenant will occupy as their only or primary residence.
The law applies whether you have an assured tenancy, shorthold tenancy or a licence to occupy agreement.
Assured tenancy — an agreement for long-term security for your tenants, to stay for as long as they’d like. You can only evict them with a possession order, if they don’t pay their rent, for example.
Shorthold tenancy — an agreement for usually six months but can be longer. After that period, you can evict the tenants without a legal reason.
Licence to occupy — an agreement of non-exclusive occupation of the property, often between six to twelve months. You can also occupy the premises or offer licences to additional tenants.
Houses in multiple occupations (HMOs) are subject to the same new electrical regulations. HMOs are properties rented out to at least three people, not from the same household (e.g. family).
To carry out the inspections set out in the new electrical regulations for landlords, you must find qualified and competent electricians.
There are specific schemes to prove that a person meets those requirements and can legally carry out the tests. Before you hire an electrician, check if they are a member of a competent person scheme.
Memberships of these schemes are not compulsory for all electricians, so a checklist is another way to ensure they are competent and qualified.
You can require the inspector to sign a checklist that will certify their competence, and it must include:
- Their experience.
- If they have insurance.
- Proof of qualification for Wiring Regulations and periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations.
The Official Requirements for Electrical Installations 1882 have been updated with new technology. Current electrical installers must follow the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations, so it’s crucial to find an inspector who knows them.
After the inspection is carried out by a qualified professional, they should provide you with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
That document will either formally declare that the electrics are safe for use or find the areas that need repair.
The charity Electrical Safety First also recommends that landlords register any appliances in the property with the manufacturers. That can mean that you can find out if there are any problems with those appliances in future, like a recall.
Although recommended by the charity, appliances do not fall under the new electrical regulations for landlords. The inspection does not cover:
UK Government regulations do not cover appliances that aren’t fixed but suggest landlords carry out portable appliance testing (PAT). Electricians carry out these tests to further ensure safety for your tenants.
Parts of the property that your Electrical Installation Condition Report will cover include:
- Plug sockets
- Light fittings
- Fuse boxes
If the report finds any of the fitted electrical installations areas with issues, it will show classification codes:
- Code 1 (C1) — dangerous and risk of injury.
- Code 2 (C2) — potentially hazardous and requires further investigation.
- Code 3 (C3) — improvement is recommended but doesn’t require work for a satisfactory report.
After receiving the inspection report, complete the remedial work. If you don’t rectify those areas of the property within 28 days, you could face action from your local authorities.
Failure to complete the work means you would break the new electrical regulations for landlords. Local councils can serve you a remedial notice for immediate action if they believe you aren’t following the law.
Councils can arrange for the remedial work’s completion, then recover the cost from you. Tenants, neighbours or concerned electricians can report you to the authorities if you don’t follow safety regulations.
The most significant punishments can include hefty fines of £30,000. Aside from financial consequences, you would be held responsible for injury to anyone from the electrical you didn’t fix.
That could mean someone takes legal action against you if they’re injured, and you face more significant fines or prison sentences.
Keep tenants safe
With all of the information shared about new electrical regulations for landlords, you should be able to comply and create safe homes for your tenants.
Like the essential costs of remedial work, spending on your properties is inevitable as a landlord. But that means managing the money that you have is of vital importance. You can ensure tenants are safe but still make money.
Add excellent financial management to your portfolio with Countingup
A great way to manage your finances is to have a separate account for your earnings and spending on your properties as a landlord.
Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software. It can help you manage your money anywhere through the app.
With features like expense categorisation, you can automatically sort the costs of any property work you do. Identify common areas and where you spend the most, so you can resolve costly issues on your new properties early.
For more tips for landlords, see: