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NEW ELECTRICAL REGULATIONS

Posted by Chris on January 24, 2020
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The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

At long last it looks as if Electrical Safety Standards Regulations (similar to the Gas Safety Regulations) are to be introduced in July this year. This long overdue but inevitably mean additional cost for the owners of residential property in the private rental sector.

To summarise our understanding in brief please find this below:

  • All new tenancies starting on or after the 1st July 2020, will require a five-year electrical certificate from a registered electrician (it may be required to be less than every five years if the certificate states that is required)
  • All new tenancies, will include renewals and tenancies that become statutory periodic
  • All existing tenancies from the 1st April 2021
  • It looks like it will also include non- housing act tenancies, such as a company let, where the rent is over £100k or is not the person’s main residence
  • It looks like it will be very similar to the Gas Safety, in that a copy must be given before the tenants occupy and within 28 days of any renewal of the certificate.  There is a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for not doing this which can be levied by the local council rather than non-compliance being a section 21 issue (which is an interesting change in attitude).
  • Any remedial works stated by the electrical certificate must be done within 28 days or sooner, and you must get written confirmation that it has been done.

Our advice is get them done now as (a) they will be cheaper, unless any electrician is reading this (!) and (b) you have plenty of time to get the remedial work done.

The draft legislation can be found at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934#f00006

 

Just to make clear a couple of points which we think have been misquoted in the property press or by some other experts:

 

  1. The maximum interval between the checks is five years.  If the electrician has stated on the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) that it must be checked again in no more than 2 years, then you are legally obligated to get the renewal done within that timeframe.  Therefore, before you instruct an electrician make sure you are using one that has a position of stating on the EICR the maximum five yearly intervals.

 

  1. The legislation states that the EICR must be to the standard on the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018.  Some experts have claimed this means that all installations will need to be up to this standard, which in reality will be really costly for most rented property.  However, if you delve into the 18th Edition into more details, it states the following:

 

“The Regulations apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, also additions and alterations to existing installations. Existing installations that have been installed in accordance with earlier editions of the Regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading”.

 

In reality, we don’t see installations having to be this standard unless they are brand new, alterations, or additions to existing installations after the 1st Jan 2020 (which is the date the 18th Edition came into force).

We may have to wait for some further guidance.  The only additional requirement IMHO,  is the paperwork, and making sure you provide a copy before a tenant occupation and within 28 days of any certificate renewal and make sure you have the evidence to back up that it has been given to the tenant (otherwise you are at threat of the £30,000 local authority fine) .

There are many questions about timings of the legislation and when it applies, so please find below some examples:

1st July 2020 – Applies to all new tenancies created on or after that this date

Example

Tenancy started on the 1st February 2020 for a 6-month fixed term ending on the 31st July 2020.  The tenancy is then renewed for a further fixed term or becomes statutory periodic on the 1st August 2020, then an EICR IS REQUIRED before the 1st August 2020.

1st April 2021 – Applies to all tenancies existing on that date

Example

  • Tenancy started on the 1st February 2020 for a 6-month fixed term that then continues as contractual periodic at the end of initial fixed term.  This is not classed as a new tenancy, so therefore an EICR is not required until the latest date being 1st April 2021.  This is one of the major benefits of using a contractual periodic tenancy i.e. Hazells have been offering these since mid-2019.
  • Tenancy started on the 1st May 2020 for 12 months. On or before the 1st April 2021, an EICR must have been obtained.
  • Tenancy is currently statutory periodic, and is statutory periodic on the 1st July 2020, and the 1st April 2021.  The EICR is required to be done on or before the 1st April 2021.

Summary

It is probably best to get the EICR done ASAP since electricians will be rushed off their feet shortly. If you are using a contractual periodic tenancy (which Hazells does), it does allow you to stagger the inspections throughout the next 15 months, if you are struggling to get hold of an electrician.

Please do contact either Andrew or Chris at Hazells on 01284-702626 or admin@hazells.co.uk  who will do their best to answer your queries.