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Back in 2018, a discussion began on whether current requirements for electrical safety checks of a rented property were adequate. While laws up until now have already required landlords to provide a safe environment for their tenants during their tenancy, there has been a disparity on which types of property have required documentation to prove these checks have been carried out.

Last year the requirements were submitted to parliament to be reviewed and voted on. This review took longer than anticipated with a little thing called Brexit helpfully taking centre stage for most parliamentary meetings.

In January of this year, the Government’s decision was finally announced on the changes to requirements, and from April 2020, new legislation will be in place that affects all landlords.

There is a chance these new requirements will not impact you too much as existing laws require you to provide your tenant with a safe environment to live. Best practice for a long time has therefore been for landlords to have a competent person carry out the checks and provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). That being said, you didn’t need to supply it to anyone once it was carried out.

However, the law has come to pass, because too many Landlords have not been ensuring the safety of the electrics. The main change is that the EICR is now mandatory. It applies to every new tenancy, and soon existing ones. And much like a Gas Safety certificate, it has to be provided to relevant parties.

So what does this actually mean for you as the landlord?

When will you need to be ready?

What do you need to do now?


Firstly don’t panic. The Government is providing a transition period for you to get your properties in order. From 1st April 2020, the new requirements will be in force. But won’t be until 1st July 2020 that all ‘New’ tenancies will be subject to the changes.

Following on from that for all your existing tenancies, you will have a year to make sure all your properties are checked and compliant with a 1st April 2021 deadline.

How do you make sure you are compliant?

The checks need to be carried out and documented every five years or sooner if the report advises so.
The documentation will be an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). These aren’t new, they’re already a requirement for other types of property and residential property under multiple occupation (HMO) such as student accommodation.
A copy of the report will need to be supplied to the tenant within a month of the inspection being carried out.

Make sure you keep a copy for yourself as;
  • The local housing authority may request to see it and they will require it within 7 days of contacting you.
  • When the checks are carried out again a copy will need to be provided to the competent person carrying out the new checks.
  • Future prospective tenants must be given a copy upon request.
  • Future new tenants must be given a copy without exception before the tenancy starts.

What do I need to do if the report finds a problem?
The report will hopefully just be a piece of paper showing you properties electrics are all in order.
If however, the report finds any issues, then they must be investigated and fixed within the timeframe specified by the competent person. Usually 28 days from the day of inspection.
If you have a Tenant due to move in with an unsafe installation, you must postpone this until works are complete.

Once those issues are resolved, you must have written confirmation that appropriate actions have been completed. These should also be kept with the report and supplied to the relevant parties.

Hopefuly, you already have an EICR for the property dated within the last 5 years.
As mentioned, while not a legal requirement best practice has been for landlords to have these checks carried out anyway as part of their legal requirement to provide a safe environment for tenants.
If you have been doing so, it’s probably best to check the report for when it runs out.

WARNING:
With these new regulations coming into effect, it is highly likely that there will be a rush on landlords needing these checks carried out. If you need one, take action early as getting yourself booked in closer to the deadline may prove difficult!


What happens if I don’t manage to get my properties compliant by the deadline?
If your local housing authority becomes aware of your property not being compliant, they will serve remedial notice for you to rectify this.
If you fail to meet the requirement of the remedial notice then the local authority can serve you a notice of intent that states you are in breach of your duties leading to fines up to £30,000.

What is an EICR?
  • EICR is an Electrical Installation Conditional Report, you may see these referred to as a Landlord Electrical safety certificate but their official name is an EICR.
  • EICR should not be confused with Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) as they are a separate type of electrical checks.
  • EICR checks the fixed wiring of your property. Effectively everything you can’t easily move by yourself like light fittings, fuse boxes, plug sockets etc would come under fixed wiring.
 

I hope I have fully covered this subject for you. Should you need further advice or guidance give me a call on 01925 988231. Alternatively, email me directly: Beth@MarkAntonyEstates.com  - I'd love to hear from you. 

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