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Lloyd Hallowell Electrics Guide for landlords requiring an electrical safety certificate in London

Electrical safety standards in the private rented sector

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The majority of landlords are proactive when it comes to ensuring the safety of their tenants and make a welcome contribution to the housing market. But a minority fail to do so, putting their tenants in danger as a result.

These new Regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at an interval of at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.

This means that all landlords now have to do what good landlords already do: make sure the electrical installations in their rented properties are safe.

 

The Regulations came into force on 1 June 2020 and form part of the Department’s wider work to improve safety in all residential premises and particularly in the private rented sector.

This is a major step towards levelling up the private rented sector, making sure it will offer high-quality, safe and secure housing. Along with our social and owner-occupied sectors, this is housing this country deserves.

The U.K government values the contribution made by good landlords, the majority of whom provide well maintained, safe, secure and high-quality places to live, work and raise families. Here at Lloyd Hallowell Electrics, our East London Electricians can help you with your electrical obligations.

What Do the Electrical Safety Standards Require?

Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

  1. Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met as outlined in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’ (British Standard 7671).
  2. Have electrical installations inspected and tested by a qualified person at least every 5 years.
  3. Obtain a report from the inspection detailing results and the next inspection date.
  4. Provide a copy of this report to:
    • Existing tenants within 28 days.
    • New tenants before occupancy.
    • Prospective tenants within 28 days upon request.
    • The local authority within 7 days upon request.
  5. Retain a copy of the report for the next inspection.
  6. Complete any necessary remedial or further investigative work within 28 days or a shorter period if specified.
  7. Provide written confirmation of completed remedial works to the tenant and local authority within 28 days.
Applicability of the Regulations

The regulations apply to all private rented properties where the tenant has a right to occupy as their main residence and pays rent. This includes assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy, with exceptions listed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations (e.g., social housing, lodgers, long leases of 7+ years, student halls, hostels, care homes, and healthcare-related accommodations).

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

An HMO is a property rented by at least 3 people from different households sharing facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. The Regulations apply to HMOs if they are a tenant’s main residence and rent is paid. HMOs with 5+ tenants are licensable, requiring that every electrical installation is safe and properly maintained.

 

How Finding a Qualified and Competent Person

The Regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at an interval of at least every 5 years.

Guidance has been produced by the electrical safety industry that covers how landlords can choose a qualified and competent inspector and tester. This includes, but is not limited to:

The electrical safety industry has established competent person schemes. Membership of these will not be compulsory to ensure there is no further pressure placed on the industry, nor undue burden placed on inspectors and testers.

When commissioning an inspection, in order to establish if a person is qualified and competent landlords can:

  • check if the inspector is a member of a competent person scheme; or
  • require the inspector to sign a checklist certifying their competence, including their experience, whether they have adequate insurance and hold a qualification covering the current version of the Wiring Regulations and the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations.
Low angle view of electrician in gloves fixing electrical distribution box
Experienced female electrical engineer The electrical system

What standard should the electrical installation meet?

The standards that should be met are set out in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations.

The Regulations state that a landlord must ensure that electrical safety standards are met, and that investigative or remedial work is carried out if the report requires this.

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.

The charity Electrical Safety First have put together a suite of guidance that may be useful for landlords in understanding the standard

What will be inspected and tested?

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.

What will happen in the inspection?

The inspection will find out if:

  • any electrical installations are overloaded
  • there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • there is any defective electrical work
  • there is a lack of earthing or bonding – these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations

The report

Landlords must obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) from the person conducting the inspection and test which explains its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work required.

Landlords must then supply a copy of this report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test, to a new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.

If a local authority requests it, landlords must supply them with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving the request.

If the report requires remedial work or further investigation, landlords must provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days of completing the work.

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

What will the report show?

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.

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.

The Classification codes best practice guide 4 produced by Electrical Safety First has further practical guidance on classification codes.

FAQ

See some common questions and answers below, or call us at 07464 786086

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.

We recommend that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide and then supply tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried out as good practice.

Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.

Tenants and landlords may consider registering their own electrical appliances with a product registration scheme.

If the report shows that remedial work or further investigation is required, as set out above, landlords must complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report. Landlords must then provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days

If a local authority has reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord is in breach of one or more of the duties in the Regulations, they must serve a remedial notice on the landlord requiring remedial action.

Should a landlord not comply with the notice, the local authority may arrange for remedial action to be taken themselves.

The local authority can recover the costs of taking the action from the landlord. The landlord has the right of appeal against a demand for costs.

If the report indicates that urgent remedial action is required, and the landlord has not carried this out within the period specified in the report, the local authority may with the consent of the tenant arrange to carry out remedial work.

The local authority must authorise a qualified and competent person in writing to undertake the remedial action and give at least 48 hours’ notice to the tenant.

The costs for carrying out the remedial work can be recovered from the landlord.

Regulation 3 requires that landlords have the electrical installation inspected and tested at intervals of no longer than every 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 have to have 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 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 a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent, then the Regulations apply. This includes assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy.

 

If a property is newly built or has been completely rewired, it should have an Electrical Installation Certificate known as an EIC.

Landlords can provide a copy of the EIC to tenants and, if requested, the local authority. The landlord will then not be required to carry out further checks or provide a report for 5 years after the EIC has been issued, as long as they have complied with their duty or duties under the Regulations.

A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice, if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.

A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous safety reports.

Local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties.

Yes, landlords can appeal against the decision of a local authority.

In the first instance, landlords have 21 days to make written representations to a local authority against a remedial notice and the intention to impose a financial penalty. The remedial notice is suspended until the local authority considers representations. The local authority must inform the landlord of their decision within 7 days.

Landlords then have a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against:

  • The decision to take remedial action by the local authority. An appeal must be made within 28 days from the day on which a remedial notice is served.
  • A demand for the recovery of costs made by the local authority following remedial action.
  • The decision to take urgent remedial action by the local authority. An appeal must be made within 28 days from the day on which the work started.
  • A financial penalty.

The Regulations state that a landlord must ensure that electrical safety standards are met, and that investigative or remedial work is carried out if the report requires this.

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.

Reports can also recommend improvement, in addition to requiring remedial work. If a report only recommends improvement but does not require any further investigative or remedial work to be carried out – indicated with a ‘C3’ classification code – then while it would be good practice to carry out this work, it would not be required to comply with the Regulations.

  • For ‘contractual periodic tenancies’ – where it is written in the original tenancy agreement that on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy will become periodic – the periodic tenancy will be part of the same tenancy and no new tenancy will be created.
  • For ‘statutory periodic tenancies’ – where on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy rolls over into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute (rather than by contract) – the periodic tenancy will be a new tenancy.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for any electrical needs or inquiries.

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