What landlords need to know about electrical safety: A practical guide

Previously, there were no laws or guidelines regulating electric installations in rental properties and landlords dealt with any problems whenever they arose. However, in recent years, more focus has been put on tenant safety, and landlords are now subject to regulations in order to keep the electrical installations in their properties safe. Health and safety in rental properties is vital, and all tenants have a right to feel safe in their homes. Landlords have a duty of care to maintain and fix issues with electrical installations as soon as they are detected. Landlords can also cover their electrical systems with a rental home warranty plan. It is a service contract that covers unexpected repair and replacement costs of major electrical systems in your home and helps you save money on repair costs. In this article, we help landlords understand everything they need to know about electrical safety in order to provide the perfect places to rent rental properties to their tenants.

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Electrical Regulations for Landlords

The regulations surrounding rental properties and landlords changed in June 2020 when the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into effect. These regulations apply to all private landlords renting out properties in England, where the property is the only or main residence of the tenant. 

Under these new regulations, all private landlords must ensure the electrical installations in their rental properties are inspected every five years by a qualified professional. Further regulations came into effect in July 2020 to apply these conditions to new tenancies and any existing tenancies prior to 1 July 2020 from 1 April 2021.

Landlords are obliged to provide a copy of the report to existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection and to any prospective tenants if requested while considering the tenancy. Furthermore, if your local authority asks for a copy of the report, it must be produced within 28 days.


What is an EICR?

The EICR, also known as the Electrical Installation Condition Report, reviews the condition of the electrical systems within a property. Carried out by a qualified professional such as those at Trade Facilities Services, it checks for any signs of defects, damage, age deterioration, or other issues that could be potentially dangerous. Once completed, you are given a copy of the report that details anything that needs to be replaced or fixed as well as any improvement recommendations the expert had for your electrical installations. If the property has satisfactory electrical systems, you will receive your electrical safety certificate; otherwise, you will have 28 days to fix the issues detailed in the report.


How Long Is An EICR Valid?

Suppose you already have an EICR for your rental property from when you had the electrics checked upon purchase. If so, this will only be valid for five years from the date on the report. Therefore, it is vital that you make a note of when the EICR is due to expire in order to organise a new inspection in plenty of time before it runs out.


Failure To Comply

If a landlord fails to comply with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, they will face strict penalties. Local authorities can take court action against any landlord that fails to comply, which could result in a maximum fine of £30k if the landlord is found to be in breach of the regulations.

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