Landlords face fines of up to £30,000 if they don't follow new tenant safety rules from April
Since 1 July 2020, the Electrical Safety Regulations 2020 have applied to new tenancies granted on or after 1 June 2020, including statutory periodic tenancies that have arisen since that date.
With effect from 1 April 2021, the Electrical Safety Regulations 2020 will apply to all existing tenancies (that is, to those granted before 1 June 2020).
The 2020 Regulations apply to any tenancy of residential premises that grants one or more persons the right to occupy as their only or main residence. This includes assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs).
Where they apply, the 2020 Regulations require private landlords to ensure that a qualified and competent electrical engineer inspects and tests the "fixed" electrical parts of the property (for example, plug sockets, light fittings, fuse boxes and electrical wiring) to check that the electrical safety standards in the 2018 edition of the IET wiring regulations (BS7671:2018) are met whenever those premises are occupied under a tenancy.
The obligation is quite onerous and the Landlords must therefore :-
- Ensure that a qualified person inspects every electrical installation at least every five years and issues a report.
- Supply a copy of the report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection.
- Supply a copy of the last report to any new tenant before occupation, or any prospective tenant within 28 days of a request from a prospective tenant.
- Retain a copy of the report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection.
- Supply a copy to the local housing authority if requested, within seven days of such request.
If landlords fail to take these steps, Local housing authorities can impose civil penalties up to a maximum of £30,000 in the event of default, and have power to serve a remedial notice.
Landlords should also note that unlike the position with gas safety certificates, a failure to comply with the Electrical Safety Regulations 2020 would not appear to preclude the service of, or reliance on, a section 21 notice.