After much uncertainty around timings, the Government (MHCLG) has now confirmed how the new electrical safety regulations for landlords should be interpreted from June 1st, 2020.
Confusion has surrounded the release, withdrawal and re release of the guidance documents that set out the new regulations. They require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every 5 years.
What is an EICR?
The new Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) is the overarching document provided to tenants, landlords and local authorities that captures the high level issues and remedial work needed to be carried out on the property, underpinned by the electrical installer / inspectors more detailed report.
Why has the Government introduced this legislation?
Between 17th February and 16th April 2018, the government invited comments on the Electrical Safety Standards Working Group’s decision to make a recommendation to introduce mandatory inspection and testing for private rented properties.
The reasons behind this working group are that as the rental sector grows, there is a real need to censure that properties are safe and compliant.
As noted in the most recent English Housing Survey; there are 4.5 million households that live in the private rented sector in England (19% of all households). By comparison, 17% (4.0 million) live in the social rented sector and 64% (14.8 million) are owner occupiers so there is a real need to ensure that safety remains a top priority for the landlord and that every home is safe.
What are the main requirements for carrying out an EICR?
- Regulations apply to tenancies granted from 1 June 2020.
- Requirement to provide an EICR or similar applies from 1 July 2020.
- Tenancies granted from 1 June 2020 will be required to have an EICR or similar from 1 July 2020
- Regulations will continue to be rolled out to all existing tenancies in England from April 2021
- Regulations apply if a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent; this includes assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy
Visit private renting for tenants; tenancy agreements for more information on tenancy types
Visit houses in multiple occupation licence for more detail surrounding the criteria.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. As set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations (The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020); these include social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of 7 years or more, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.
What does this mean for landlords?
As shown in the Government guidance landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
- Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
- Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
- Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
- Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
- Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
What should landlords be doing now?
Residential Landlords Association (now NRLA) are advising members to write to those tenants who have already taken up the tenancy (as of the 1st June 2020) in order to gain permission to undertake the electrical installation inspection.
With many households still shielding or having to self isolate, tenants are well within their rights to refuse access so any communication with the tenant should make this abundantly clear.
‘A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice, if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.’ MHCLG
However in order to satisfy that the criteria for not providing an EICR has been met; all reasonable attempts to access the property and carry out the electrical safety check should be made and more importantly, recorded in case evidence is needed further down or at the end of the tenancy to avoid potential fines of up to £30,000.
Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new rules (specified under the Housing Act 2004) and can arrange remedial action if repairs and improvements recommended in the reports are not made.
After receiving a notice of remedial action, landlords will have 28 days to have the work undertaken, unless it is an urgent notice. A shorter timeframe may be given in this case.
Who should receive a copy of the EICR?
- A copy of the report must be given to the tenant before the tenancy starts
- An existing tenant must receive a copy within 28 days of the inspection and test
- Any prospective tenant (requested in writing) should be given a copy of the EICR within 28 days
- An EICR report should be supplied to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report and;
- If the local authority requests the EICR, a copy must be provided within seven days; penalties could apply for non-compliance
Electrical inspectors/installers who carry out the next inspection and test must also be given a copy. Reports are going to need to be hosted and stored for a minimum of 5 years.
As tenants are also to receive a copy as they prepare to take up new tenancies at the same property; this could mean that an EICR report could be shared as often as every 6 months if on a assured shorthold tenancy (AST).
How can InventoryBase help you manage your bookings, reports, storage and audit compliance?
Booking EICR jobs is easy as a,b,c…
With an InventoryBase account you can:
- access the platform from any location on any device; essential when out on the road visiting properties
- grant clients or landlords access to their own accounts to accept, book, schedule and download completed reports
- automatic audit trial created for all report activity to ensure your compliance with government guidelines
And we have developed a NAPIT led template to capture all the key components so that your report captures defects; clear indications if the property rating is C1, C2, C3 or further investigations are required.
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay
If codes C1 or C2 are identified in the report, then remedial work will be required. The report will state the installation is unsatisfactory for continued use.
If an inspector identifies that further investigative work is required (FI), the landlord must also ensure this is carried out.
The C3 classification code does not indicate remedial work is required, but only that improvement is recommended. Landlords don’t have to make the improvement, but it would improve the safety of the installation if they did.
Find out how InventoryBase can provide you with an all-round, full integrated solution for managing tenancies, property inspections and more – book a demo with us today.