We know it isn’t being a landlord at the best of times, let alone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords must review their own finances, manage their tenant’s concerns and ensure the rental property remains in great condition. All of this must be achieved while maintaining social distancing and encouraging tenants to follow these guidelines.
Therefore, some landlords will find it difficult to comply with regulations, and considering there are more than 150 regulations impacting on landlords, this can be a full-time task in itself! In addition to existing regulations and newly updated regulations, there are also new regulations for landlords to comply with.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations are now in effect. If you need guidance on what the regulations consist of, and how to comply with them, Hunters West Hampstead is here to assist you.
Private landlords must ensure:
· Their rental property is inspected and tested before new tenancies commence on or after the 1st of July 2020
· Their rental property is inspected and tested before existing tenancies by 1st of April 2021
· Electrical safety standards are upheld during a tenancy
· All electrical installations at the property are inspected and tested b y a qualified person at least every five years
Who is able to conduct the test?
The electrical inspector carrying out the check and testing must hold:
· A qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671).
· A qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing, and certification of electrical installations.
· Adequate insurance. This should include at least £2 million public liability insurance and £250,000 professional
· At least two years’ experience in carrying out periodic inspection and testing
· indemnity insurance.
What issues are examined during the test?
· Potential electric shock risks or fire hazards
· Electrical installations which are overloaded
· Any defective electrical work on the premises
· A lack of bonding or earthing – these are methods that prevent electrical shocks and which are built into electrical installations
How can landlords comply with the regulations?
Most landlords are keen to be proactive in complying with these regulations, and the following steps are recommended:
· Retain copies of the EICR so they can be issued to tenants, respective tenants and the local authority when required
· Complete and maintain accurate records
· Assess the standard of electrical installations
What penalties are in place if a landlord doesn’t comply with regulations?
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing compliance and they can take the following steps:
· Arrange for appropriate remedial work to be undertaken and then recover the costs of doing so if the landlord fails to do so and as long as the tenant provides consent
· Demand a copy of the EICR, which the landlord is obliged to provide within seven days
· Impose a financial penalty or penalties if there is a sustained failure to comply, up to a maximum of £30,000
· Serve a remedial notice if there is reasonable grounds to believe a landlord has breached their duties with respect to the Regulations
The Regulations enable a landlord to challenge any remedial notice imposed on them by making written representations within 21 days of being served notice.
Can testing take place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
On the 1st of June 2020, the Government issued the following guidance:
· Landlords should make every effort to comply with the new electrical safety regulations providing it is possible to do so in line with government guidance on working in people’s homes.
· Where a household is self-isolating, inspections should not be carried out until the period of isolation has ended, unless required to remedy a direct risk to the household safety. A direct risk is defined as a risk that affects the ability of a tenant to live safely and maintain mental and physical health in the property.
· Where an individual in the household is shielding, a balancing exercise must be carried out, assessing the age, history and type of system or appliance against the practical considerations of the property. The guidance queries for example whether the shielded person can reside in separate room for the duration of visit. This will heavily depend on the layout of the property and extent of electrical installations at the property – it may not be as feasible for a shielded person to isolate during an electrical safety testing for example as it is for gas safety testing.
If you need any help or guidance regarding property matters, please get in touch. As your local housing market specialists, we will do what we can to ensure you make your next house move in style. Contact Hunters West Hampstead today for all your housing and letting needs.