Compulsory Electric Checks are here!

It has been announced by the Government that Electrical Safety Checks will have to be carried out in all private rental properties in England according to Regulations now laid in Parliament.

This is the detail as reported by Property Industry Eye on January 15th:

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 look set to become law from April 1st this year, initially applying to all new tenancies.

  • Inspections are likely to be required of electrical installations from July 1st. 
  • By April 1, 2021, there would have to be Electrical Safety Checks for all existing tenancies.
  • Safety checks would then have to be done at five yearly intervals.

Copies of the report will have to be provided to prospective tenants on request, and given to new tenants before they move in.

The check-in report would also have to give the results of the inspection. Local councils can also request a copy of the report, which must be provided within seven days and any remedial work must be done within 28 days, or sooner if specified in the report.

Enforcement will be carried out by the local authority, which can order that work be done. Failure could result in a civil penalty of up to £30,000.

With a large number of mandatory electrical inspections on the horizon, concerns are being raised at how busy – and available – electricians will be.

David Cox, CEO of ARLA Propertymark, said: “We are supportive of this concept and believe it will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants.

“Mandating  electrical testing should have a limited impact on good professional landlords and agents in the market, many of whom already voluntarily undertake these inspections.

“We did raise concerns about the number of engineers available to undertake these reports by the April 2021 deadline but have received assurances from MHCLG about capacity in the supply chain.”

Susan Cope, Managing Director of Professional Properties said “Although I agree that mandatory checks were required, I’m concerned that current standards will not improve significantly. When the news was released, I immediately contacted a couple of electricians that we currently use for the checks that we currently carry out. They indicated to me that the standard of EICR’s (Electrical installation Condition Reports) is very often not up to the correct specification and that the nature of testing work is extremely technical. Historically, it was only carried out by senior, experienced electricians”.

“I just hope that landlords are willing to pay for the necessary skills and expertise required to produce these reports. At least they will only be required every five years. I suppose the options on frequency were either to produce a new report for each new tenancy, every year or a longer timescale, which the Government has opted for. A possible grey area could be that any damage done by a tenant during the five year period could go unnoticed and then there would be the issue of whose responsibility would it be to correct any issues. We shall see.”