If you’re a good landlord, you’ll know that you need to provide your tenants with a safe home where the electrics are in working order. To ensure that any electrical installations within rental properties are safe, landlords must comply with government guidelines. So, what electrical certificates are landlords required to have by law?
New Electrical Safety Regulations
As of 1st June, 2020, new regulations are in place, the aim being to improve the safety and quality of rented housing. In a wider context, this is an attempt to level up the rental sector, ensuring that privately owned lettings properties provide safe and secure homes for those who live in them, that are well maintained and of high quality.
Which properties do the new regulations apply to?
The new regulations apply to any property where it is a private tenant’s main or only residence, they have a right of occupation and they pay rent. The regulations apply to any new tenancy that begins on or after from 1st July, 2020, as well as existing tenancies that were agreed on or after 1st April, 2020.
Exceptions include those with long leases of seven years plus, lodgers, social housing, refuges, hostels, accommodation that relates to healthcare, and student halls of residence.
Houses in Multiple Occupation
Any property rented out by three or more people from different households, that has shared areas like a kitchen and bathroom, is an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The regulations apply if the property is the tenant’s sole or main residence and rent is paid.
The former Management of HMO Regulations 2006 have now been repealed and replaced by the new Electrical Safety Regulations. If an HMO has five or more occupants, it is licensable, and the regulations now stipulate that ensuring every electrical installation is safe and in working order is mandatory.
Landlords must have all electrical installations within lettings properties inspected and tested at least once per five-year period. They must use a tester who is qualified and competent, and competent person schemes and accreditations exist within the electrical safety industry.
Landlords can take certain steps to establish whether a person is qualified and competent, including checking whether the inspector is accredited or belongs to any competent person schemes. Do they have adequate insurance, and do they hold a current Wiring Regulations qualification? Are they experienced in inspecting, testing and certifying electrical installations?
What does the inspection involve?
Electrical installations must meet the standards of the Wiring Regulations, 18th edition. These regulations require landlords to make sure electrical safety standards are met. Also, any required investigative or remedial work must be carried out. Electrical installations must be safe for continued use too.
What is tested?
All fixed electrical installations – such as wiring, plug sockets, fuse boxes (consumer units), light fittings, showers and extractor fans – should be inspected. Wired-in alarms, such as
smoke, intruder and fire alarms, should also be tested.
The inspection should check for defective electrical work, overloaded electrical installations, and potential fire or electric shock hazards – including any absence of earthing or bonding. The latter are built-in ways of preventing electric shocks.
Moveable appliances such as fridges, cookers and TVs are not covered by the regulations, although it is recommended that landlords carry out regular PAT (portable appliance testing) on any electrical items they supply and provide tenants with a record of any completed electrical inspections.
Electrical appliances owned by tenants are their own responsibility. Both landlords and tenants could register their electrical appliances with a product registration scheme.
What is in the report?
A report should be given to the landlord. Normally this will be an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This should show test results and clarify whether any investigative or remedial work is necessary.
Copies of the report
The Landlord should then supply the tenant with a copy of the report within 28 days of the inspection or, in the case of new tenants, before they move into the premises. If a prospective tenant requests a report, this should be supplied within 28 days. A local authority may also request a report, in which case this must be supplied within seven days.
If remedial work or investigation is required, landlords must confirm in writing to the tenant and/or local authority, within 28 days of completion, that the work has been carried out. They should also retain their own copy to show the next tester who inspects the property.
One of three classification codes may be used in the report if further remedial action is required. Code 1 (C1) indicates danger present and the risk of injury. The inspector may ensure any C1 hazards are safe before they leave. Code 2 (C2) indicates potentially dangerous installations. Both C1 and C2 mean that remedial work will be necessary, and that the installation is not satisfactory for continued use.
Code 3 (C3) means improvement is recommended, but remedial work is not necessary to obtain a satisfactory report; it simply means that an improvement is suggested to ensure maximum safety standards. Where an inspector recommends further investigative work by using an FI code, however, the landlord must carry this out.
New installations and newbuild properties
An Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) should have been supplied when a property has been completely rewired or is a newbuild. Landlords are thus not required to carry out testing or provide a report for five years following the issue of the EIC.
What happens if remedial work is not done?
A landlord will be breaching their duty to comply if they do not ensure that required remedial work is carried out. Landlords thus risk being served a remedial notice by the local authority. If this is not complied with during the stated notice period, then the local authority do have the power to arrange the remedial work in agreement with the tenant, and they can recover their costs in doing so from the landlord. Local authorities also have the power to impose financial penalties on landlords who are in breach of their duties, and these can be as high as £30,000.
Book it with Bundy’s
Bundy’s can take all the stress out of electrical certification. If you’re a landlord, why not get in touch to obtain a quote or make a booking?