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Are you aware of the changes?

Compulsory 5 Year Electrical Safety Checks for Private Landlords

June 2020

On the 1st June 2020 new regulations came into force requiring that all New Private Tenancies in England require fixed electrical installations to be inspected and tested by a qualified person(s) prior to the commencement of the private tenancy effective from 1st July 2020. The regulations apply to all properties across the private rented sector, including houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). It is the responsibility of you the landlord to ensure that these inspections are carried out at least every five years or sooner if deemed necessary by the qualified inspecting person(s), the electrical report(s) issued will specify when the next inspection is due.

These regulations are not just limited to new tenancy agreements, from the 1st April 2021, the effects of the regulations are far wider reaching encompassing all existing tenancy agreements, meaning existing agreements will also fall under the same electrical inspection regulations (England) 2020.

What are your duties as a Private Landlord under these new regulations?

  • Ensure that the first electrical inspection test is carried out before a tenancy commences in respect of all new tenancies agreements with effect 1st July 2020 onwards.
  • Ensure that electrical inspection testing is carried out for all existing tenancies before 1st April 2021.
  • Ensure that you receive a written report from the person(s) conducting the inspection(s), which includes the results and date for the next inspection.
  • Ensure that any rectification work(s) identified by the qualified person(s) are completed and signed off within specified timescale(s).
  • Provide a copy of the inspection report(s) to new tenant(s) prior to tenant(s) occupying the property and thereafter within 28 days of inspection(s) to the tenant(s) of residential properties.
  • Provide a copy to the local authority within 7 days upon receipt of a formal request.
  • Retain a copy of the inspection(s) report and make this available to the qualified person(s) undertaking the next inspection(s).

What will happen if I don't comply?

If you fail to comply with the regulations the local authority could impose a fine for each failure and continuing failure thereafter. The fine amounts can be as much as the imposing authority deems necessary up to a maximum of £30,000.

Your Property Owners Insurance could also be affected in respect of a failure to comply with these regulations. In much the same way as a motor vehicle requires a MOT, insurers could view non-compliance as a failure to maintain the property and take all reasonable precautions to safe guard the property from damage and fulfil your legal requirements as owner / landlord. Any claim either connected to an electrical failure or other insured peril may be declined.

You could also be held personally responsible for a breach, whether justified or alleged, and incur legal costs for the defence of such actions. (speak to us about separate Legal Expenses insurance and Management Liability Insurance which could provide protection for such defence costs).

Are there any tenancies that are excluded?

Under the legislation, which can be found here there are a number of tenancy agreements that will have exemption, whilst we would recommend you take specific legal advice before deciding if you are exempt, the list includes the following tenancies:

  • Private registered provider of social housing
  • Shared accommodation with landlord or landlord's family
  • Student halls of residence
  • Hostels and refuges
  • Care homes
  • Hospitals and hospices
  • Other accommodation relating to healthcare provision

How Do I Obtain an Electrical Test Report?

If you have a managing agent acting on your behalf, they may have already contacted you to help ensure your tenancy is compliant with these regulations and may well have details of suitably qualified person(s) in your area to facilitate an inspection and report for you. Contact your agents to see if they already have a programme of inspections in place for you.

Alternatively you can engage the services of your own suitably qualified person(s). You will need to ensure that any person(s) engaged have the following:

  • A qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671)
  • A qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations
  • Suitable experience and insurance to cover the works carried out

Insurance Requirements

Whilst these regulations are now a legislative requirement for the personal landlord, you may find that your current property insurer has already applied terms within their policy conditions. A breach of a term, condition or endorsement on your insurance policy could invalidate a claim. If you are unsure if your policy contains such a requirement, please contact us for a review.

Daines Kapp Insurance Brokers Limited, can arrange a wide variety of property insurances, including Buildings, Contents, Loss of Rent, Property Owners Liability, Employers Liability and Terrorism. Please contact us to discuss your insurance requirements.

Stay safe and keep well.