New electrical checks - keep the evidence!
New electrical safety regulations come into effect for all rental properties from 1 April, so do you know what you need to do to comply?
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 mean landlords must have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every five years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.
The new rules have been in force for new tenancies since July last year, but landlords with existing tenancies must soon abide by the rules too. From 1 April landlords 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 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.
To read about the new regulations in detail, click here.
The ongoing pandemic makes this, like every other aspect of landlords’ rental journeys, more complicated. So ARLA Propertymark and other rental industry bodies are arguing for a delay to the introduction of the regulations. But to-date, calls for an extension have fallen on deaf ears.
So to avoid falling foul of the new rules – and being given a fine - we are adding our voice to those advising landlords to document all arranging, planning and scheduling of work related to electrical checks. This should include keeping a detailed paper-trail documenting phone calls and text messages, and recording dates of refused access, planned checks and any scheduled remedial work.
That way, if it isn’t possible to carry out the checks you need to do because one of your tenants has fallen ill or is self-isolating and you can’t access the property, you can provide evidence that you did everything you should have done to ensure the safety of your property and the people who live in it.
The Government has told local authorities they should take “a common-sense approach” to enforcement in light of the pandemic. Let’s hope they’re listening.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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