Bolton Electrical Services provides electrical inspection and testing services for landlords and letting agencies across South Manchester and Cheshire
It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order.
In January 2020, the government announced the much-anticipated introduction of mandatory electrical safety inspections for private landlords.
The new regulations, titled The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, were officially brought in on 1st April 2020.
In July 2020, all new tenancies required an EICR. As of 1st April 2021, this requirement applies to all tenancies – new and existing.
Manage your property well and the risks to you as landlord or agent are minimal, but manage it badly and your risks are high.
You are advised to make visual inspections yourself as landlord or agent in residential properties (record on a safety checklist) and have legally required periodic checks carried out by a qualified electrician.
- Ideally, ensure that the electrical system complies with the latest wiring regulations.
- Make sure a circuit breaker (RCD) is fitted to power circuits.
- Keep supplied appliances to a minimum.
- Make sure appliances supplied are complete and in working order – keep purchase receipts.
- Pay particular attention to second hand equipment – always have these items checked.
- Ensure that operating instructions and safety warning notices are supplied with the appliances.
- Ensure that flexes are in good order and properly attached to appliances and plugs.
- Ensure that earth tags are in place.
- Ensure that plugs are of an approved type with sleeved live and neutral pins.
- Ensure that plugs and sockets conform to BS1363 or BS1363/A for heavy duty uses.
- Ensure that all fuses are of the correct type and rating.
- Make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch.
- Make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory.
If you are in any doubt about the wiring or the safety of any appliances consult a qualified electrician such as those employed by Bolton Electrical Services.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN REPRODUCED FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT WEBSITE: Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector:
Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
- Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at an interval of at least every 5 years.
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
- Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
- Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
- Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
- Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
What about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?
A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from one ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. If an HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence and they pay rent, then these Regulations apply to the HMO.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 previously put specific duties on landlords around electrical safety. This requirement has now been repealed, and HMOs are now covered by the new Electrical Safety Regulations.
HMOs with 5 or more tenants are licensable. The Housing Act 2004 has been amended by these Regulations to require a new mandatory condition in HMO licences ensuring that every electrical installation in the HMO is in proper working order and safe for continued use. See guidance on HMO licences.
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
What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?
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.
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.
What about new build properties or new electrical installations?
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.
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.
What if the remedial work isn’t carried out?
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.
Urgent remedial action
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.
Local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties.