Are you a private landlord? Here is our advice that explains your responsibilities and what’s expected of you to ensure your rental properties are electrically safe. We can also offer practical advice to help you keep your tenants safe. 

Five Yearly Electrical Checks 

Since the 1st of June 2020, private landlords in England must have the electrical installation in their rental properties checked by a qualified electrician to ensure that they are safe. This means that any electrical installation must be inspected and tested prior to the start of a new tenancy (which usually falls on the 1st of July). 
Electrical checks must also be carried out on any existing tenancies by 1st April 2021. These checks are now required to be carried out on a five-yearly basis. If a landlord is found to not comply with this new law or if no attempt has been made to complete necessary remedial work that was identified, you could be facing a penalty fine of up to £30,000. 

Private Landlords' Responsibilities 

To prove that your property is safe, the electrical installation needs to be inspected every five years. You should only employ a registered electrician who specialises in assessing the electrical safety check on the rental property. If you decide to use an electrician who is registered with a ‘competent person’s scheme’, this means that you have more protection and a complaints resolution procedure in the rare event anything goes wrong. 

You can find out if there is a registered electrician near you here. 

Once the inspection is complete, you will receive an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) from the registered electrician. This will either formally declare that the installation is safe to continue to be used or it will highlight any suggested or urgent repairs that need to be made. A copy of the EICR must be provided to both new and retained tenants. 
If the inspection has stated that remedial work is necessary, you can check whether your electrician is able to carry out this work or find a registered electrician who can by using the same search tool as above. 
Any remedial work or further investigation following the inspection must be addressed within 28 days. You must then provide written confirmation that the work has been completed to both the tenant and local authority. 
The only time you do not need to have checks carried out on change of tenancy is if they fall within the five-year period. However, you must always present a copy of the EICR to any new tenants. 

Access to Properties 

The new legislation states that landlords will not be in breach of the regulations if they can demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply. For example, if your tenant was refusing you access to the property for an electrical safety check to be carried out. However, it is important to document any communication between the landlord and the tenant to keep as evidence of an attempt to comply. Our advice is to document and keep all communications with both tenants and the electrician so that you can clearly show that you have attempted to comply with the regulations. 
It is worth knowing that even with many Covid-19 restrictions still in place, these electrical checks are legally allowed to go ahead. If your tenants are shielding or refuse access, this could lead to a delay in accessing the property, in which case you should keep the correspondence to show that you have attempted to comply. 

Register Your Appliances 

If providing electrical appliances is within your rental agreement, ensure that you have registered them with the manufacturer. This will mean that if there is a problem, the manufacturer will be able to contact you. We also recommend that you advise your tenants to register any electrical products that they bring into the property. 

Additional Recommendations 

Firstly, ensure that a visual inspection of the property is conducted between tenancies. Also make sure that your property has adequate RCD protection. This is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live. 
Any questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch. 
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