Plans for mandatory five-year electrical safety checks in the private rental sector in England have finally been confirmed by the UK government. This move, which requires further legislation, means that all landlords will be required to have an electrical installation condition report (EICR) or electrical safety report on their property(s) by a registered electrician.
This will be the same as the current rulings for landlords in Scotland, where rental safety standards are currently much stricter than the ones in the rest of the UK. The idea is that the safety reports will begin initially with all new tenancies, with existing rentals following later.
These mandatory electrical checks come at the end of years of campaigning by consumer and safety groups such as Electrical Safety First and NAPIT. These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes. It will also provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks.
Does this affect me ?
The legislation affects anyone who rents out a property whether as a professional landlord, whether you rent your property out through a lettings agency, to a family member or even a room in your own home. It means you have a legal responsibility for the electrical safety in the property.
Who can undertake the testing at my property?
Currently only registered Electricians are allowed to carry out these critical safety tests, however the Government have advised that they will provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks.
What happens if the property does not ‘pass’ the test?
If the electrical safety check fails and does not pass which is generally known as ‘Unsatisfactory’, the remedial/repair work will have to be carried out to ensure safe and proper compliance. Similar to your car failing its annual MOT. This repair work must to comply with current IET Regulations now BS7671:2018 18th Edition. Once these works have been completed a further inspection can take place and a ‘Satisfactory’ report can be issued as long as the remedial works have been undertaken to the relevant standards.
The report is scheduled to last five years and after that a further inspection will need to be completed. It is advised that a ‘visual inspection’ should be carried out on any change of tenancy within the five year period.
What happens if do not get my rental property checked ?
You will not be complying to regulations and action can be taken against you and all that goes with it. Aside from the Government legislation there has been a significant rise in local authorities with their own specific legislation and several fines of £ 30,000 have been issued for non compliance. In most cases it doesn't take too much and doesn't cost too much to get your house in order, this obviously depends on the individual properties circumstances. Your insurance company may also invalidate your insurance if you are not up to date with electrical checks.