Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

Firstly, as with all guidance, this blog is just that, guidance.  However, landlords do need to be aware of the importance of the new regulations and it may steer local authorities in a certain direction if they consider prosecution/levying fines as a viable option.   I will only cover what are believed to be the most important points:

Commencement

The legislation comes into force on the 1st June to take effect from the 1st July 2020 for the following tenancies:

  • Brand new tenancies
  • Renewal tenancies
  • Tenancies that become statutory periodic

On the 1st April 2021 it will apply to all tenancies in existence.  If you have a tenancy which is currently periodic and is not renewed, then you are not obliged to do a report until the 1st April 2021 at the latest.  It is reassuring to see the Government understands the difference between contractual and statutory periodic tenancies and the benefits of using a contractual periodic which Hazells do for all new tenancies.

One small ambiguity: I am not sure why the legislation comes into force on the 1st June 2020 for tenancies commencing after the 1st July 2020.  I can only suggest that if you date and execute your tenancy in June 2020, but the tenancy start date is on or after the 1st July 2020, you will be caught by the legislation.  To avoid that risk, don’t date and execute any tenancies in June.

Types of Tenancy

It will cover ASTs and Rent Act tenancies.  It will not cover company lets.

The 18th Edition Standard

This is still not absolutely clear.  The 18th edition came into effect on the 1st January 2019.

New Reports and those conducted after the 1st January 2019 – will be to the 18th Edition standard.

Current Reports done prior to the 1st Jan 2019 – if you have a report which is still valid, you will need to get confirmation from the engineer to state that report is still safe and complies with the obligations of the 18th Edition.  I be interested to hear feedback from our preferred engineers on that requirement and how they will ascertain if a current report does indeed comply with the 18th edition without the need to go back to the property.

The Codes/Remedial Works

Those reports which show either C1, C2 or Further Investigation (FI) must be rectified within 28 days (or shorter if noted) of the initial report being conducted.  Code C3 is only for recommendations, so no need to remedy.  You must obtain confirmation that the remedial works have been conducted and provide the original report and confirmation of the remedial works having been completed to both the tenant and local council within 28 days.

Compliance/Penalty

A copy of the report to the tenant before move in and within 28 days of a renewal report being obtained is imperative.  Also, there are 28 days to provide a copy of the report to any prospective tenant.  In terms of the penalty, non-compliance is a financial penalty issued by the local council.   It will not be possible to serve a section 21 or 8 Notice until such reports have been provided to the tenant. 

Summary

As always, there are still certain issues that need clarification especially around the 18th Edition standard.  The importance of evidence of gathering is vitally important especially with the potential of many tenants not allowing access and the limited availability of electricians.

The Regulations in their entirety can be found using the link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector

For any specific queries on these Regulations Andrew and Chris will do their best to advise so please contact them on 01284-702626 or admin@hazells.co.uk

CWJO

2nd June 2020

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