How new Electrical Safety Standards are Protecting Tenants

31st July 2020

Last month a new set of Electrical Safety Regulations for rented properties came into effect in the UK for any new tenancies agreed after 1st July. For existing tenants, the rules will kick in from 1st April 2021. Although many landlords with tenants already in-situ are likely to want to take action on the new regulations before then to give themselves and their tenants peace of mind. The new regulations will ensure that electrical safety in tenanted properties is brought in line with gas safety routines, although inspections of electrical installations will only be required every 5 years (as opposed to annual gas safety inspections)

What action do landlords need to take for Electrical Safety now?

Private landlords need to ensure they have access to a qualified professional electrician. NAPIT (the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers) have ensured that all of their members are qualified, so this is a great place to look to find someone to support your testing when it is due. If you work with our Property Management team, we already work with a number of qualified people and can help arrange your test when it’s due.

The test will be due at least every 5 years. If a landlord currently has an empty property or is about to embark on a change of tenants, the certificate will need to be produced when the new tenancy is signed. Regardless of how long the new tenants stay, the certificate will be valid for 5 years and must be shown as part of the new tenancy pack along with the latest gas safety certificate.

What happens if the property fails its Electrical Safety test?

Once a rental property has been tested the certificate will state whether or not any work needs to be carried out to bring the electrical installation up to a suitable safety standard. If work is required, the landlord must arrange this as soon as possible and in no longer than 28 days.

What happens if a landlord doesn’t carry out electrical repairs within 28 days?

A landlord can be fined up to £30,000 for failing to carry out essential electrical repairs. There is of course, also the risk of losing the tenant who may no longer feel safe living in the property. The local housing association will be able to enforce the remedial work (with the tenant’s approval) by contracting their own electrician to carry out repairs and later seeking to recover costs from the landlord. This is obviously not an ideal scenario at all, as it gives the landlord no choice about the cost of the work or style of work if appropriate and is also likely to involve further penalties and fines when the housing association looks to recover the cost of the repairs.

Why the new Electrical Safety Regulations are a positive move for landlords

Getting a property tested for electrical safety and quality of installation will always be a useful exercise for landlords. Not only will it highlight any potential danger areas before they could cause damage to the property, but it will also give the landlord peace of mind that the property is well maintained. As an agency we welcome the new regulations. Although there will be a small extra cost to landlords, it will only be every 5 years and anything that protects the value of an investment property is something we'd advocate. In addition, as a Letting Agency, our tenant safety is extremely important to us so we are glad that the industry is now guided by stricter regulations. When our Residential Sales team work with new landlords to find investment properties, we recommend an inspection takes place before starting any tenancies as it’s a good opportunity to get into the property while it’s empty and make any necessary repairs and renovations in one go.

If you’re a landlord who’d like more advice about Property Management or are thinking of taking steps to rent a property out for the first time, do get in contact and we’ll be happy to help.


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