Updated: Electrical safety standards in the private rented sector

The electrical safety regulations, introduced in July last year, have now been extended to cover all tenancies in England. 

Agents will now need to ensure that the relevant checks for all existing tenancies are carried out in line with the latest extension, which came into play last week.

Guidance setting out how the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 affect landlords, tenants and local authorities have been updated by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

These updated regulations, which take effect from 1 April, require all landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every five years.

Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.

Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.

Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.

Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.

Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.

Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.

Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.

Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.

Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.

Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.

Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

The Regulations apply to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a landlord must undertake remedial work.

Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.

Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous. Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.

Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory.

If codes C1 or C2 are identified in on the report, then remedial work will be required. The report will state the installation is unsatisfactory for continued use.

If an inspector identifies that further investigative work is required (FI), the landlord must also ensure this is carried out.

The C3 classification code does not indicate remedial work is required, but only that improvement is recommended.

Landlords don’t have to make the improvement, but it would improve the safety of the installation if they did.

Read the full guides for landlords and tenants here.

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