The vast majority of Landlords have always been committed to providing good quality homes that are safe and secure, and have already had a qualified person perform an inspection of the electrical installations in their properties. Previously there was no legal obligation to do this, however as of July 1st 2020 the rules have changed in England. These rules have introduce new standards of electrical safety as well as legal requirements on the service of electrical safety documents to all relevant people. The following questions and answers help describe what the changes mean for Landlords.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 places a continuous duty on Landlords to maintain their property to the electrical safety standards and to have evidence of this. This means your property must meet the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations and you must have a report that shows this from a qualified person.
If you are renting out a property in England, any tenancy you create or renew on or after July 1st 2020 now requires an Electrical Inspection and a report on the condition of the property. This report is known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and must be performed by a qualified person. Renewals in this case include statutory periodic tenancies that are created at the end of a fixed term on or after this date.
For pre-existing tenancies, you will need to have an EICR performed before April 1st 2021.
The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket-outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box) will be inspected. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors.
The inspection will find out if:
The electrical installation should be safe for continued use. In practice, if the report does not require investigative or remedial work, the Landlord will not be required to carry out any further work.
Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a Landlord must undertake remedial work.
If codes C1 or C2 are identified in 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.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 set out the following requirements around providing copies of the EICR. The Landlord must:
The Landlord must also retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
The standard EICR lasts 5 years but this can be shorter so you should replace it as often as needed to ensure it remains valid.
The regulations require that Landlords have the electrical installation inspected and tested at intervals of no longer than 5 years. Electrical safety standards (the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations) must be met throughout the period of that tenancy.
The 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations came into effect in 2019, so if a Landlord already has a report for a property that was carried out after this date and has complied with all the other requirements of the Regulations, they won’t require another inspection for 5 years, provided the report does not state that the next inspection should take place sooner.
Existing installations that have been installed in accordance with earlier editions of the Wiring Regulations may not comply with the 18th edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading.
It is good practice however for Landlords with existing reports to check these reports and decide whether the electrical installation complies with electrical safety standards. Landlords might also wish to contact the inspector who provided a report to ensure the installation complies with electrical safety standards.
If the EICR indicates a breach, or a potential breach, of the electrical safety standard you need to have a qualified person either perform the work or investigate further within 28 days. This time limit can be shortened if the report recommends it, so you should ensure you are complying with the time frame specified in the report itself. Once this has been done you need to ensure you are receiving a written report from the qualified person as quickly as possible. This report needs to state that the electrical safety standards are now being met or that further remedial work is required. Within 28 days of the work or investigation being carried out you must provide the written confirmation as well as a copy of the report to all of the tenants and the local authority. Where the follow up investigation recommends further work being done, you must repeat the steps above until the property meets the electrical safety standards.
The qualified person is someone who is competent to perform the inspections or the works and includes people with industry recognised apprenticeships or Level 3 Certificates in Level 3 Certificate in Installing, Testing and Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings.