Electrical safety reminder: New regulations likely to kick in this July

New electrical safety regulations were presented before Parliament last month.

The move by the Government will strengthen electrical safety practices and bring them into line with those already well established within gas safety regulations in private residential tenancies.

The regulation, if implemented, will only affect private residential tenancies – first, new tenancies from July 1 this year, and those tenancies already in existence from April 1, 2021.

The proposal will move to ensure all electrical wiring and fixed electrical installations are signed off and reported by a qualified electrician.

This report will be required to be shown at the outset of every new tenancy and renewed at least every five years, if not earlier, dependent on any electrics or fixed electrical installations that are altered or changed by the landlord.

If the report highlights any issues, the landlord will be required to remedy the issue within 28 days or sooner dependent on the recommendation within the report.

If the landlord does not comply with the recommendations made in the report, and this is notified to the local authority, the council has the power to issue a potential fine of up to £30,000.

The council will also be granted the power to carry out the recommended works and seek to impose the costs of such actions on to the landlord along with the potential fine of up to £30,000. The most likely route would be that the local authority will look to serve a further notice of 28 days  for the landlord to carry out the specified works, before looking to impose further actions and potential fines.

Landlords and their agents will need to ensure their properties are compliant with the regulation for any new tenancy, and it is possible we may see more properties coming on to the market for sale if landlords are unable or unwilling to comply with the regulations.

The regulations seek to ensure that the policing is self-compliant, with landlords and letting agents unable to market a property without the appropriate electrical report.

Is this fair? Yes, as safety is key. While  the policy is aimed at those worst offending landlords who may undertake illegal electrical works, all landlords must now pick up the mantle and ensure their properties are safe.

Inevitably, however, there are going to be issues with regard to landlords and agents seeking electricians to sign off their properties. Electricians may be rather busy over the next year or so!

* Scott Battram is residential property specialist at Hunters Law

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5 Comments

  1. jeremy1960

    Whilst I have always agreed with safety first, why do government feel the need to debate such matters for years and then leave it to the last minute to publish the finer details?

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  2. cjhhhh51

    Does anyone know what the agent liability is going to be? I’ve even read the full regs and if all seems to be about the landlord.  So if they don’t comply and we don’t disintruct are we also liable?

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  3. Baggiefan

    Been doing this for the last twenty years, its just not an issue.

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  4. bridget

    Whilst I totally agree that something needs to be done to standardise and make electrical reports mandatory, does anyone know what the requirement is for a ‘pass’. I read somewhere that it was all meant to be up to the absolute current electrical standards, however when I ask the electrician in the past when he has done as report if it has ‘passed’ he always says its not really a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ its based on C1, 2 and 3’s.

    C1’s absolutely would have to be done so I assume without them being done the landlord would be liable of being negligent.

    C2’s are advisable for safety so really should be done, but he wouldn’t condem the place without them so can’t really say it has ‘failed’,  but C’3 are only advisable to bring up to current standards. As standards change all the time there will constantly be new C3’s to do each time a tenancy changes presumably.

    Should we therefore be telling landlords they need to get all the C1, 2 and 3’s done – or just the C1’s and/or C2’s.

    Everything I have read doesn’t make this clear it just talks about being compliant, but not relating it to the standards on the reporting system (ie C1, C2 and C3).

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  5. Jireh Homes

    Concur with Bridget.  A report with C3 is accepted as fine, as simply reflecting “not to current standard”.  A C1 is a must do.  The grey area is C2, for example no bonding to water pipe as can not be confirmed due to restricted / no access.  And as C2 advisable, not a critical safety concern.  However there does not appear to be universal acceptance on the requirement to action C2 issues.

    Whilst some say C3 issues must be addressed, this is incorrect.

    And to add to the mix, there will be some interpretation amongst electricians as to the various ratings, depending on their experience and how they interpret the guidelines (or seek additional work).

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