New regulations come into effect on the 1st July 2020 in England to add to the ever-extending list of compulsory obligations for residential landlords.
Whilst it was already good practice for landlords to undertake electrical safety inspections every five years, it has not become a legal requirement. The regulations become enforceable on all new tenancies from 1st July 2020, and all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021.
The regulatory authority for this is the local housing authority.
The regulations apply to residential tenancies with a term of less than seven years, including agricultural tenancies under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 and the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.
A qualified electrician must be instructed to inspect and test every electrical installation in a residential property. The electrician must provide an Electrical Installation and Condition Report (EICR) to confirm the results and the date at which the next inspection and test should be carried out.
All fixed electrical appliances such as ovens, extractor fans and showers need to be included in the testing process. Portable appliances are not covered by the scope of the regulations, but if a landlord does supply any such devices, it is good practice for a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) to be carried out at least once a year.
It may be that the result of the EICR identifies the need for further investigative or remedial works. If this is the case, the regulations allow 28 days to carry out the required works. Once complete, the electrician must provide a further written report to confirm the additional works have been carried out and the property complies with the safety standards. Should the local authority determine that the regulations are not being met, they have the power to carry out the necessary work and recover the cost from the landlord.