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Private Rented Sector: New electrical safety standards

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29/01/2020

Walker Morris’ Housing Management & Litigation Partner Karl Anders and PRS Housing Consultant Deborah Brown highlight new electrical safety standards that will shortly apply to certain residential tenancies within the private rented sector (PRS).

PRS electrical safety standards

The draft Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (the Electrical Safety Regulations) have been laid before Parliament and should come into effect:

  • for new residential tenancies in the private rented sector with effect from 1 July 2020; and
  • for existing residential tenancies in the private rented sector with effect from 1 April 2021.

What’s new?

Where the Electrical Safety Regulations apply, they will require landlords of all PRS residential tenancies (i.e. not just properties which are subject to Local Authority licensing schemes):

  • to ensure that electrical installations are inspected, and that BS7671:2018 standards are met, at the outset of a tenancy and at least every five years; and
  • to issue a copy of the inspection report to the tenants within 28 days of the inspection, and to carry out any remedial work within 28 days (or sooner if the report requires).

If a landlord breaches any of the requirements within the Electrical Safety Regulations, the Local Authority has a duty to act to ensure remedial action is taken by serving a notice containing statutory deadlines.

Where a landlord fails to comply, the local authority will be able to access the property with the tenant’s permission to remedy the issue.

Where urgent remedial works are required and the landlord has not undertaken these, the Local Authority can arrange for the works to be undertaken. It must inform the landlord within seven days of the works commencing.

Local Authorities will also have the power to impose financial penalties of up to £30,000 for a breach of the Electrical Safety Regulations.

Excluded tenancies

The Electrical Safety Regulations will apply to all PRS residential tenancies, with the following exceptions:

  • Where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing
  • Lodging arrangements/shared accommodation with landlord or landlord’s family
  • Where the tenancy is a long lease [1] or grants a right of occupation for a term of 7 years or more
  • Student halls of residence
  • Hostels and refuges
  • Care homes
  • Hospitals and hospices.

 

[1] for the purposes of section 7 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (or which, in the case of a shared ownership lease (within the meaning given by section 7(7) of that Act), would be such a lease if the tenant’s total share were 100%)

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