Every landlord across the UK is obliged to follow the new electrical safety regulations. These latest regulations have already been pressed into effect since July 2020 for new tenancies and revolve around electrical installations. As for existing tenancies, the date of implementation was April 2021. Landlords of the properties that fail to comply are to be fined heavily in the coming times. In extreme cases, a landlord’s insurance claims may also be forfeited.
It is strongly recommended that landlords should stand by the new regulation and conduct a safety check on their properties every 5 years as required by the law. At the end of the safety check, it is also important to get the EICR (Electric Installation Condition Report) or Electrical Safety Certificate.
If the report does not comply with the current regulations the lives of your tenants are at great risk because your property is prone to electrical fires and shocks. As a matter of fact, your property is at risk of being gutted by fire at the same time.
In other words, electrical installations that are unsafe spell out to be compromising on the safety of the people, who make use of those. The new regulations have been put up only after extensive surveys which point out faulty electrical wires, cables and devices are the most common cause behind incidents of fire in the UK.
It is only through routine and regular checks or inspections cases of electrical fires and shocks can be avoided. Regular inspection proves effective in identifying a faulty device, defective wiring, and improper or complete lack of earth connection. Then steps can be taken to correct those mistakes. If the truth is to be spoken, the EICR is aimed to make properties safer for both tenants and landlords. Damage in your property or damage in terms of money can both be prevented as well as physical injuries and loss of lives.
Rules for landlords to maintain electrical safety
Now that the new regulation has been implemented it is important for landlords to remember the following –
- Every electrical installation and device in your property must be in sound working condition at the commencement of a tenancy.
- The same should be safe to use throughout the entire tenancy period.
- A qualified electrician must conduct the test that includes checking wirings, light fixtures, fuse boxes, and light fixtures. Even the appliances that are permanently fixed should be included in the test.
- As the landlord, you have to get an EICR for your property from a qualified electrician every 5 years.
- Only Houses of Multiple Occupancies or HMOs are obligated as per law to get an electric check done.
- All electrical devices and appliances that are provided to tenants – cookers, kettles, and the like – should bear the CE marking and must be safe to use.
- An EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report is only to be given after successful completion of the safety test. It is the landlord’s duty to retain the report for the next 5 years. As an old report loses its expiry the landlord has to make all the necessary arrangements to get a fresh one.
- As per the new regulations, a smoke alarm must be installed on every floor of your property.
- The smoke alarm must be in perfect working condition at the commencement of a tenancy.
- Each room with an open wood fire needs to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed as well.
- A copy of the test report or Electrical Safety Certificate has to be handed over to a tenant before he or she moves in.
- The landlord has to share a copy of the Electrical Safety Certificate with a tenant within 28 days from the test being conducted.
- If the local building authorities ask for it, then the landlord has to submit a copy to them as well within a week.
- If a tenant requests a copy, the same must be handed over within 28 days from making the request.
- The landlord also has to provide a copy of the report at the time of the next EICR to the electrician carrying out the inspection.
Steps that need to be taken after getting the Electrical Safety Certificate
After getting the EICR report, a landlord requires taking the following actions as per the new law –
- If the inspection identified any fault, then that has to be corrected within 28 days of the report by a qualified electrician.
- Then the landlord also has to get a written confirmation that the defect has been corrected.
- A duplicate copy of this confirmation is to be handed over to the tenant within 28 days from the date of repair.
The new regulation and the local authorities
The new regulation gives the following rights to the local building authorities across the UK –
- If the local buildings department asks for then the landlord has to submit a copy of the EICR to them. The submission has to be made within 7 days from the date of request.
- If any urgent electrical repair is needed the local buildings department is empowered to notify the landlord. The concerned landlord or landlady then has to follow suit and do the needful within 28 days from receiving that notification.
- In case the landlord does not comply with the directives then the local authorities can execute the necessary repair works and ask the landlord to foot the bill.
- In addition to the norms mentioned above, the local authorities can also impose a fine up to £30,000 on the landlord for non-compliance. Furthermore, additional fines can be imposed on recurring violations.
Additional recommendations for electrical safety
In addition to the norms mentioned above, the following recommendations are meant to ensure greater electrical safety for tenants –
- It is highly recommended that tenants must promptly report any electrical issue in the property that comes to their notice.
- A sufficient number of RCDs or Residual Current devices must be installed in a property to ensure protection from electricity.
- Always hire a licensed electrician for even the most minor job.
- It is mandatory to get a fresh EICR every time at the commencement of a new tenancy. For short tenancy periods, a visual inspection is enough.
The landlord electrical safety certificate ensures electrical safety not only for tenants but also landlords. For individual benefit as well as that for the society as a whole no one should underestimate the new regulations and rather must abide by them.