What you need to know about the new mandatory Electrical Safety Regulations effective from 1st July 2020


3rd February 2020

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 come into force on 1st July 2020 for landlords offering new residential tenancies from 1st July onwards.

With a potential penalty of up to £30,000 for non-compliance with the Electrical Safety Regulations, and a tight timeframe to organise electrical inspections, it will be a busy 6 months for electricians and landlords alike.

Landlords in Wales are subject to different regulations under the Building Regulations 2010, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

What type of tenancies do the Electrical Safety Regulations apply to?

  • Residential tenancies where tenants have the right to occupy either all or part of a premises as their only or main residence, they pay a rent, and it is not listed as an excluded tenancy (detailed below)
  • Note: The regulations currently only apply to rental properties in England only. And the regulations replace those already in place for HMOs.

When are the regulations effective from?

  • For new private tenancies entered into from 1st July 2020
  • For existing tenancies from 1st April 2021.

Which tenancies are excluded from the Electrical Safety Regulations?

  • Private registered providers of social housing; lodger arrangements; long leases or tenancies which grant a right of occupation for a term of 7 years or more; student lettings in halls of residence; and tenancies granted to occupiers of hostels, refuges, care homes, hospitals, hospices and other accommodation provided as a result of a duty imposed on an NHS body.

What do landlords need to do?

  • Hire a qualified person to carry out an inspection to check that the electrical installations in their rental properties comply with the 2018 edition of the Institute of Engineering and Technology wiring regulations.
  • Ensure the electrician prepares a report detailing: (i) results of the inspection and (ii) date of the next inspection (which will need to be at least every 5 years)
  • Initial inspections need to be carried out before any new tenancy is granted from 1st July 2020, and by 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies.
  • If the report identifies a breach, further investigations must be carried out within 28 days of the inspection, or within a shorter period if specified. Landlords should obtain written confirmation of completion of the remedial works and provide this within 28 days of completion to each existing tenant, and to the local authority.

Report requirements

  • The report will need to be supplied to new tenants before they move in, to existing tenants within 28 days of receiving it, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of their request to view the report.

Local Authority’s Powers to Compel Compliance

  • They have the power to demand sight of the report, which landlords should provide within 7 days of the request or they face a penalty.
  • They also have the power to serve a remedial notice on a landlord to compel them to comply with the regulations if they have reasonable grounds to believe the landlord is in breach.
  • Landlords have 28 days from the date the notice is received to remedy the breach, and if the work is not carried out in time then the local authority has the power to carry out the required works themselves (on providing prior written notice to the landlord) and then recover their costs from the landlord.
  • Landlords who fail to comply with the regulations may face a civil penalty up to a maximum of £30,000, with the potential for multiple penalties to be imposed for a continuing failure 

Relationship between the 2020 Electrical Safety Regulations and Section 21 Housing Act 1988 Notices

  • Failure to provide tenants with an electrical safety report at the start of their tenancies does not seem to invalidate a section 21 notice to terminate the tenancy, unlike evidence of failure to provide tenants with EPCs and gas safety certificates at the start of their tenancies.
  • The mandatory nature of the new 2020 electrical safety regulations and the high potential penalties for failure to comply may have been regarded as enough incentive for landlords to comply with the regulations. It is also possible that the proposed abolition of section 21 notices explains this omission. Time will surely tell with the impending 1st July 2020 deadline to provide electrical safety reports to new tenants.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards required for rented properties from 1st April 2020

  • Landlords must also ensure that if any of their rental properties are banded energy efficiency ratings F or G, and the tenancy started before 1st April 2018 and runs until at least 1st April 2020 that they take urgent steps to improve the property to at least Band E by 1st April 2020.
  • A cost cap of £3,500 (including VAT) to be spent on improving the property’s energy efficiency applies, and Landlords can review ways to fund improvements on the government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance

If you need property advice, contact our team of real estate experts or specialist property litigation lawyers.

This article has been co-written by Sara Brown and Thomas Djan-Krofa.

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