Landlords – Beware New Electrical Safety Standards for the Private Rented Sector
Julia Mactear, a Legal Director in FSP’s Property Litigation department, provides an insight into the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”).
What are the Regulations?
The Regulations, which were published earlier this year, place duties on landlords in the private rented sector in relation to the electrical safety of a property. The two key duties are as follows:
- Private landlords must ensure that electrical safety standards are met during any period where a residential property is occupied under a specified tenancy.
- Private landlords must also ensure that every electrical installation in a residential property is tested and inspected by a qualified person at regular intervals. The Regulations define regular intervals as not being more than 5 years between each inspection. If the most recent electrical safety inspection requires these intervals to be less than 5 years, then a new inspection must take place by the date specified in the report.
Do they apply to me?
Once the Regulations are fully in force, they will apply to all specified tenancies that are in the private rented sector. This includes any privately-owned property which is subsequently rented out to be occupied as housing and houses in multiple occupation.
The Regulations provide a list of tenancies that are excluded, such as:
- Student halls of residence;
- Long leases of more than 7 years;
- Accommodation which is shared with the landlord or the landlord’s family;
- Accommodation relating to healthcare provision such as care homes, hospitals and hospices;
- Hostels and refuges; and
- Private registered providers of social housing.
When are they in force?
The Regulations commenced on 1 June 2020, however they only started applying to all new specified tenancies from 1 July 2020. A new tenancy for these purposes will be a tenancy that is not excluded by the Regulations and is signed on or after 1 June 2020. On 1 April 2021, the Regulations will begin to apply to all existing specified tenancies, regardless of when they were entered into.
This means that the first inspection and testing should be carried out before the tenancy commences if it was signed on or after 1 June 2020 or by 1 April 2021 in relation to an existing tenancy. Local authorities have the power to enforce the Regulations and substantial fines can be given if they are breached.
If you have any questions in relation to the above, please contact the Property Litigation team.