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There are electrical regulations that require you to arrange an inspection and electrical safety certificate for all your private rented properties.
As a landlord, you’ll need to make sure you’re complying with these rules. If you don’t you could face a fine of up to £30,000.
Read on to find out what you need to do, how much the checks cost, and how often they need to be completed.
In July 2020, new electrical testing regulations for landlords were introduced for new tenancies. These changes, designed to improve tenant safety, were extended to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.
You can read the full regulations on the government website.
Electrical testing requirements for landlords mean that you must test your property every five years. You’ll need to get an electrical certificate in the form of a written report – this is usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
A new safety report doesn't need to be carried out every time a tenant moves out. However, a landlord must supply new tenants with a copy of the current EICR at the beginning of their tenancy.
An EICR is a report completed by a qualified electrician after testing the electrical safety of a property.
The report will outline whether the electrical installations are dangerous, with the potential to cause fire risks or electric shocks.
To complete an EICR report, the electrician will inspect the property, checking for things like signs of overheating or damage to installations.
The final report will recommend any remedial work that needs doing to make the property safe or whether further investigation is needed.
The cost of getting your electrical certificate depends on a number of factors, including:
These regulations involve inspection and testing for all properties in the private rented sector. There are three key elements you need to be aware of:
1. Inspection every five years
A key feature of the ruling is inspection. Landlords will need to make sure all electrical installations in their property are inspected and tested by a qualified person every five years (at least).
You’re legally obliged to supply a copy of the inspection and test report to new, existing, and prospective tenants, as well as your local authority if they ask for it. Here are the timescales you’ll need to work to:
The report should set a date for your next inspection and test, and you’ll need to keep a copy for the next inspector.
2. Meet the national standards
The national standards for electrical safety are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’. You can find these on gov.uk, and may need to talk them through with a qualified electrician.
3. Do any remedial or investigative work
Any remedial work required in your report needs to be completed within 28 days of the test report (or a shorter time period, if specified). Your electrician will need to give written confirmation that they’ve completed this work for you, to the tenant, and local authority, within 28 days of finishing the job.
Existing tenancies have had to comply from 1 April 2021, while all new tenancies have already been under this legislation since 1 July 2020. This will usually include assured shorthold tenancies, licences to occupy, and certain Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
There are exceptions, including:
All of these will carry their own regulations, though, so read up on the different types of tenancy and make sure you’re meeting them.
Aside from the regulations outlined above, you’ll need to make sure your inspection and testing are booked in, and your installations are safe.
They’ll need to be ‘qualified and competent’, and you’ll need to get the test repeated every five years. Use gov.uk for guidance on how to find a qualified person.
Ahead of the test, make sure you’re clear on where all the relevant installations are, if possible. These will include:
Tenants are responsible for making sure their own appliances are safe.
Do you have any unanswered questions about electrical safety regulations? Let us know in the comments.
Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
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