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New Electrical Safety Standards for Landlords

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Whilst the last few months have mainly focused on the impact of Covid-19, it is important that landlords are still aware of changes that are coming into force this year. Mollie Leak, a Solicitor in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains here one of those changes that is coming into force in the next couple of weeks.

Electrical Safety Standards - what has changed?

Under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, landlords have a continuous duty to maintain their property to the electrical safety standards and have to have evidence of this.

If you create or renew a tenancy on or after 1 July 2020 you will be required to have an electrical inspection and report on the condition of the property (EICR) performed by a qualified person. This includes statutory periodic tenancies, which are created after a fixed term AST has expired.

Who needs to have a copy of the report?

The EICR must be given to any new tenant before the tenancy commences in addition to the other prescribed documents that you are required to provide your tenant. You will also need to keep a copy for your own records.

In addition, landlords will need to provide a copy of the report to the Local Authority and any potential new tenants if it is requested within 28 days.

How often do I need an EICR?

Unlike Gas Safety Certificates you do not need to renew the EICR every year. In general, an EICR lasts for five years, but may need to be renewed earlier than this. However, like a Gas Safety Certificate, when you have a new copy, landlords must provide this to your tenant within 28 days.

What if I am in breach of the new Regulations?

If the EICR shows that there is a breach of the landlord’s duty of maintaining the property to the required safety standard, you will need to have this rectified within 28 days by a qualified person. Landlords should get a report from the person who carried out the work to confirm that the electrical safety standard is met. This report will also need to be given to your tenant.

What happens if I do not have an EICR?

On the face of it, not having an EICR is unlikely to invalidate any Section 21 Notice and so you should still be able to evict your tenant under Section 21 without having an EICR.

However, in the event that you do not have an EICR your Local Authority could take the following action:

  • The Local Authority could issue you with a notice to carry out works within 28 days of receiving the notice.
  • The Local Authority could attend the property and carry out the EICR and recover the costs in doing so from you.
  • The Local Authority could take action against you for being in breach of the Regulations and you could face a penalty of up to £30,000.

Will this affect existing tenancies?

These rules on EICRs will apply to pre-existing tenancies from 1 April 2021, so existing landlords should keep these new regulations in mind.

If you are a landlord with questions about what documents you need to provide to your tenant prior to starting a tenancy, you can contact Mollie on 023 8071 7487 or email mollieleak@warnergoodman.co.uk.  While we are not taking appointments at our offices, we are still open for business with our teams working from home, and are able to support you during this time of need.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.