On the 1st of July 2020 the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will come into force in England and Wales.
The effect of these Regulations is that all private Landlords of Tenancies commencing on or after the 1st of July 2020 will be required to have electrical safety inspections and a condition report (EICR) carried out by an appropriately qualified person. The Landlord then has to provide a copy of the EICR to their Tenants confirming that the inspection has been carried out and that the property complies with the standards of the Eighteenth Edition of the Wiring Regulations.
The EICR must be given to the Tenants before they have started their occupation of the property or whenever the Certificate is replaced following a new inspection and in addition within 28 days of any request from the Tenant, a prospective Tenant or the Local Authority.
An EICR is valid for five years and care should be taken to ensure a replacement is obtained before the expiry date given in the Certificate.
Landlords of properties with existing Tenancies, that is those which have commenced prior to 1st of July 2020, have until the 1st of April 2021 to have the inspection carried out and the Certificate provided to the Tenant.
It is extremely important that Landlords understand that although they may have what are considered to be safe electrical installations that it does not matter whether the installation is safe if it does not comply with the Eighteenth Edition of the Wiring Regulations then it will not receive a satisfactory EICR and will need to be upgraded to comply with those Regulations otherwise the Landlord is in breach of the rules.
The penalty for failing to comply with obtaining these electrical checks is a heavy fine (with a maximum of £30,000), a requirement to carry out the work in any event or the Local Authority carrying out the work and then charging it back to the Landlord.
Failure to have supplied a Tenant with the necessary EICR when required to do so could also effect a Landlords right to obtain possession of the property in the future.
In the circumstances it is extremely important that all Landlords of residential tenancies have electrical testing carried out to ensure that their properties comply with the Eighteenth Edition of the Wiring Regulations. The Landlord should then carry out any necessary works to upgrade to compliance as quickly as possible.
It is important that these matters are not left as no doubt there will be a considerable demand for such testing as the cut off date for Tenancies grows closer and accordingly these are matters that should be dealt with as soon as possible.