Landlords have until April 1 to get an electrical inspection condition report for their rented accommodation, or they could face a £30,000 fine.
We reported last year that electricians had faced a surge in requests for an EICR due to new legislation coming into force for new tenancies, but now those with existing tenants also need to ensure that their accommodation is safe as far as the electrics are concerned.
Both new and existing tenancies are now covered by the The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. This compels landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified electrician every five years. This was enforced from June 1, 2020, for new tenancies, although those with existing tenancies have until April 1, 2021 to get their electrical installation inspected.
Landlords that fail to get their electrical installations tested, or refuse to undertake necessary repairs, could face fines of up to £30,000. For those wishing to skirt around the legislation, it won’t be easy, as a copy of the EICR needs to be given to tenants directly and, if requested, to the local authority.
Electrical Safety First has led the charge, throughout the UK, for mandatory, five yearly, electrical checks in the private rented sector (PRS). These became a legal requirement in Scotland in 2015 and in England from June 2020. The Welsh government has committed to introducing these checks in both the private and social rented sectors simultaneously.
England’s new PRS regulations come some years after the 2008 electrocution of Thirza Whittall, a mother who was killed by an unidentified electrical fault when running a bath. An inquest heard the PRS property had not been checked since 1981. A prevention of future deaths report – and call for regular electrical checks in PRS properties – was also issued by a coroner in 2019, following the death of Professor John Alliston. The Professor was electrocuted by a faulty cable, in the garden of a privately rented property.
“Good PRS landlords have always undertaken regular electrical checks”, explains Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First.
“But making these checks a legal requirement, with a significant penalty if landlords fail to comply, brings clarity and reduces electrical risk for people and property. And, of course, it is essential that these mandatory electrical checks are undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent person – a point we continue to highlight in all our campaigns.”