Electrical Safety Guidance for Landlords

On the 1st June 2020, the UK Government released guidance on the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. In short, the legislation will require all let properties to have an EICR (Electrical Installation and Condition Report). For new tenancies, this will apply from 1st July 2020. For existing tenancies. the legislation will work and apply retrospectively from 1st April 2021. 

To help understand how this affects you as a landlord, we have put together the following FAQs:

Q: What does ‘electrical safety standards’ mean?

A: Under the Regulations, electrical safety standards mean that the inspection and test of the installation is carried out in accordance with the eighteenth edition of the wiring regulations BS 7671:2018 (the national standard to which all domestic wiring must conform).

Q: What will Michael Jones organise for me in terms of the EICR?

A: We will ensure electrical safety standards are met when the property is occupied during a tenancy, that every fixed electrical installation at the property is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person and that the first inspection and testing are carried out before new tenancies commence on or after 1st July 2020 and by 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies.

Q: What do I do if I have an existing report?

A: As a landlord, if you already have a satisfactory Electrical Installation Safety Report which is less than five years old, it is advisable to review the report to see what was recommended on it and consider how the property has been let since it was carried out. If big differences to the property have occurred, then it would be wise to get another check done. If no changes have been made, then the report will remain valid until the next inspection date specified.

If you use our fully managed service, we will do this all for you. We will check our records and information to see whether or not you have a report. If you do, we’ll check if the report is valid and if it isn’t, we are able to organise an EICR for you.

Q: What is the cost of the EICR?

A: The cost is £150 + VAT. When instructing the electrician, we would also ask permission for a further £150 + VAT budget in case small remedial works are required to pass the property’s electrics. This will save an additional callout fee if the electrician has to re-attend.

Q: What tenancy types are covered by Regulations?

A: The Regulations apply to all tenancies apart from those listed as excluded tenancies which are social housing, shared accommodation with a landlord or landlord’s family, long leases, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals, and hospices as well as other accommodation relating to healthcare provision.

Q: Do the Regulations apply to house of multiple occupations (HMO)?

A: Yes, if an HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent, then these regulations apply to the property. Furthermore, these Regulations repeal the previous legislation which set requirements on HMO landlords.

Q: Do the Regulations apply to new build property?

A: The Regulations stipulate that all rented properties – even new builds – should have their electrical installations tested every five years. The Electrical Installation Certificate will certify that electrics are safe when they are put into service, but it will not identify any damage, deterioration, or defects that take place subsequently. After five years of use as a rented property, the UK Government believes it is sensible to ask landlords (who have not been living in the property) to ensure that the electrical installation is still safe.

Q: Who can carry out the checks?

A: Any Electrical Inspector employed to undertake the electrical inspection and testing within the property must have:

  • Adequate insurance. This should include at least £2 million public liability insurance and £250,000 professional indemnity insurance.
  • A qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671).
  • A qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing, and certification of electrical installations.
  • At least two years’ experience in carrying out periodic inspection and testing

Please note, that any electricians recommended by Michael Jones will have the correct and necessary qualifications, experience and insurance.

Q: Can I use my own electrician?

A: Yes, as long as they meet the criteria above to ensure you are covered. Should you wish to use your own electrician, we will just need the EIRC at least two days prior to the start date of the tenancy.

Q: How do the rules interact with the guidance considering COVID-19?

A: We recognise – as does the UK Government, that the restrictions imposed by current measures to minimise the infection risks from COVID-19 may make carrying out electrical safety checks more difficult, for example where households are isolating or where an individual has been advised to shield. Under such circumstances, provided the landlord can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to comply, they would not be in breach of their legal duties.

Q: What happens next?

A: For our landlords who have a new tenancy due to start on or after 1st July, we will be writing to you to kindly ask you to confirm your instruction for us to organise the EICR or request confirmation that this will be completed and provided to us.

We’re here to help you with any property needs and/or questions you have; and now, we can organise safe meetings in person, via video or simply talk over the phone. If you’d like to speak with one of our friendly Lettings team to discuss any further questions or arrange one of our electricians to carry out the EIRC for you, please call us on 01903 213 111.

Stay alert and stay safe.

Content accurate at time of publishing.

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