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Harsher Electrical Safety Rules for Rental Properties

Landlords should take note that rules around electrical safety testing in rental properties are changing this summer.

From 1 July 2020, new regulations will mean landlords must have all fixed electrical installations in their properties tested by a qualified person every five years, or risk fines of up to £30,000.

The inspection and testing cover all aspects of the electrical distribution system in a house, from the main incoming supply through to light fittings and sockets, and is designed to highlight any potential hazards which offer great peace of mind for tenants.

Director of NLT Electrical, Nathan Tromans, said this is a welcome move to ensure the safety of private tenants and standardise practices in the rental market. He said: “Whilst it is seen as good practice to periodically check a property’s electrics, and some landlords do so already to ensure the safety of their property and its tenants, it hasn’t until now been a legal requirement.

“We welcome the introduction of more stringent rules, bringing it more in line with those already applied to gas installations in rented properties.

“Agents must ensure that any inspectors hired to issue an electrical installation condition report, or EICR, hold the correct qualifications, however, and are competent to carry out the inspection. Tough financial penalties will apply where this isn’t complied with.

“We’re anticipating an upturn in demand for the testing, which could lead to a bottleneck in the supply chain with qualified electrical engineers, so we’re suggesting landlords get their properties booked in for inspections in plenty of time to ensure they comply.”

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will affect new tenancies in England from 1st July this year and will then be rolled out to existing tenancies from 1st April 2021.

The landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, and supply it to their tenant within 28 days, retaining a copy for their own records until the next inspection is due.

Upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within 7 days which will be responsible for enforcing the regulations. Proven breaches can result in a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

Properties that already have a valid electrical installation condition report (EICR) will not need to replace it until five years have passed since it was issued. However, it is advisable that once a property is vacated by a tenant, the property should undergo a new EICR before new tenants are placed into the property.

For more information on the requirements of the testing, or for a quotation to complete property EICRs, call NLT Electrical on 01827 767100.

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