Since June 1, under The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, landlords in England have been required to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested, at least every five years, by a person who is qualified and competent.
This applied in England to new specified tenancies from July 1 2020 and will apply to all other tenancies from April 1 2021. A new specified tenancy is a tenancy which was ‘granted’ (signed) on or after June 1 2020.
The regulations refer to an electrical safety report being obtained by the person conducting the electrical installation inspection and test.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is used within the industry for this purpose. An EICR is a report carried out to assess the safety of the existing electrical installation within a property and is used to describe its condition.
Its purpose is to confirm as far as possible whether or not the electrical installation is in a safe condition for continued service. The EICR will show whether the electrical installation is in a satisfactory or unsatisfactory condition and will detail a list of observations affecting the safety or requiring improvements.
Landlords are required to give all tenants a copy of the EICR within 28 days of it being completed. If the EICR is unsatisfactory (e.g. it has defects with C1, C2 or FI codes), the landlord has a responsibility to carry out any remedial or further investigative work within 28 days of the unsatisfactory report being issued, or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report, and provide evidence to the tenants and local housing authority that any remedial work has been completed and the electrical installation is now safe for continued use.
Landlords do not need to have another EICR done if the commissioned report was unsatisfactory, but they will need to keep all the supporting certificates for the remedial and further investigative work with the EICR to show the required remedial works have been completed.
NAPIT has created a ‘Landlord Electrical Installation Safety Record’ (LEISR) which is a one-page document which confirms either a Satisfactory EICR has been completed or allows confirmation that the required remedial work or further investigation has been completed following the issuing of an unsatisfactory EICR.
This one page ‘highlight’ report could then be used to issue to tenants to demonstrate compliance with the regulations and will be a lot easier to understand. The tenant may wish to see the full EICR which the landlord must allow them, and NAPIT suggest that the full EICR is submitted along with the LEISR to the local authority when the landlord provides evidence to them that the required remedial works have been completed.
The regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent. To determine those who are qualified and competent to undertake the electrical inspection, landlords can either:
• Check if the inspector is a member of a competent person scheme for inspection and testing; or
• Require the inspector to sign a checklist certifying their competence, including their experience, whether they have adequate insurance and hold a qualification covering the current version of the Wiring Regulations and the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations.
Registered Competent Person Electrical is a single mark and register set up in 2014 following an agreement between all government-approved electrical Competent Person Scheme Operators to raise awareness of electrical safety in the home by simplifying the task of finding and checking a competent, registered electrician.
It has recently been updated to assist landlords and letting agents find an electrical inspector and tester who is registered with an Electrical Competent Person Scheme and deemed to be competent to undertake EICRs in private rented properties and has a search option specifically for findings competent and qualified electrical inspectors locally.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, these regulations came in as planned on June 1 and guidance has been issued for landlords by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on how to deal with their legal obligations during this uncertain time.
The guidance confirms that the safety of privately rented homes is of utmost importance and landlords should make every effort to comply with the regulations which apply to them.
The government has issued detailed guidance on how to work safely within people’s homes, including considerations around social distancing, hygiene, personal protective equipment and travelling to work.
However, it understands the unease some tenants may have around letting an electrical inspector into their house to undertake an Electrical Installation Condition Report.
The government guidance explicitly notes:“If households are shielding, landlords should balance the risk presented, considering factors such as age and type of system, previous maintenance history alongside considerations about the household.”
“For example, whether the shielded person can reside in a separate room for the duration of the visit. In some situations, this might indicate that the inspection should still go ahead.”
However, if ultimately access to the property is denied by the tenant or the landlord cannot find a suitably qualified, competent electrical installer then a landlord would not be in breach of the duty to comply with a remedial notice if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.
Reasonable steps can be demonstrated by keeping copies of communications with both tenants and electrical inspectors as well as records and certificates of any previous electrical work carried out in the property.
You can see free guidance on the regulations, specifically created for landlords, here.
As well as the free guidance, NAPIT has also released a publication which provides an in-depth understanding of the new legislation and covers many areas to help landlords comply with them. This guide can be purchased here.
Meanwhile, you can search for a NAPIT registered electrical inspector competent to undertake Electrical Installation Condition Reports in privately rented properties, here.
NAPIT offer an online training course to help gain understanding of the regulations and receive a NAPIT Training CPD certificate of approval upon completing. You can find out more or book here.
*Charlotte Lee is Head of External Affairs at NAPIT