February 23, 2021
Revealed: how can landlords prepare for the upcoming electrical checks deadline?
In recent years, UK landlords have had no choice but to get used to the introduction of new pieces of regulation.
It has become the norm. And the latest date for landlords to be wary of is Thursday April 1. No, not because it’s April Fool’s Day. Because that’s when the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 are extended to cover existing tenancies.
Keeping your tenants safe by ensuring the electrical installations are working as they should is vitally important. You could face fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance.
But what do you need to know about the deadline? Here, we take a closer look.
Explained – what are the electrical safety regulations?
Since July last year, landlords or letting agents have been required by law to conduct electrical safety checks before the start of every new tenancy.
For all new tenancies, you must now provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This should be carried out by a competent contractor. Also, all fixed electrical installations need t be inspected at least every five years by a qualified professional.
Electricians will be searching for a lack of earthing or bonding to work out whether there is any defective electrical work. They will also be checking if installations are overloaded.
In addition, the electrician will be checking for potential electric shocks and fire hazards in installations. This includes:
- Light fittings
- Fuse boxes
- Extractor fans
- Fixed showers
Once the inspection has been completed, you must make sure you secure a copy of the electrician’s report. The report will showcase the results of the checks and also outline if any work is needed, as well as setting a date for the next set of checks.
New tenants must receive the report before they move into the property. What’s more, if the electrician suggests that repairs are needed, the work needs to be completed within 28 days.
You also have a 28-day timeframe if your local authority or tenants request a copy of the report at any time.
To see the government’s full guidance on the regulations, click here.
What’s changing in April?
The regulations have only applied to new tenancies since July 1 2020. However from April 1 2021 they will be extended to cover all existing tenancies.
An existing tenancy means any tenancy granted before July 1 2020. The vast majority of existing tenancies will need to comply with the regulations by April 1, but there are some exemptions. This includes accommodation shared with a landlord or the landlord’s family, student halls, holiday lets and long leases.
Meanwhile, any tenancy which doesn’t have a fixed-term ending before April 1 will fall within the scope of the regulations upon renewal or on April 1. Whichever is sooner. If an existing tenancy does have a fixed-term ending before April, you need to check if the original agreement states that the fixed-term will become periodic.
If this is the case, the tenancy is a contractual periodic tenancy and no new tenancy would need to be created. As a result, the tenancy would come under the scope of the regulations upon renewal or on April 1, whichever is sooner.
In cases where the tenancy agreement does not say that the fixed-term becomes periodic, a new statutory periodic tenancy will be created. Consequently, the new tenancy would come under the regulations on April 1 2021 or when the new tenancy is created, whichever is sooner.
The regulations also make clear that, for existing tenancies which require electrical checks to be carried out in the coming weeks, the report must be provided to renters within 28 days of the inspection.
To summarise, nearly all existing tenancies will need to comply with the electrical safety standards when a contract renews or by April 1 at the latest.
Also electrical safety checks need to be carried out by contractors who are members of a competency scheme. Alternatively, you can use those who sign a checklist confirming they have the competency to carry out the checks.
As the April deadline draws ever closer, demand for reputable tradespeople is likely to be high. Decisive action taken early can help you to ensure you meet the deadline. It also provides your tenants with a safe and habitable home.
With so much to factor in at present, it’s vital that you work with an experienced, well-respected letting agent.
If you have any questions about letting or selling a home in the London area, Atkinson McLeod is here to help.
To find out more about our services and current operations, please get in touch with our expert team today. You can find out how much your home could be worth on the current market by requesting a free and instant online valuation here.