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New Electrical Regulations - A Major Challenge for Landlords and Tenants


Subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament, landlords and agents will need to ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1 July 2020 or from 1 April 2021 for existing tenancies.

The Government has produced The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 which state that landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person. The Regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due.

Obviously, in the current environment, these plans may be delayed but the key point, that many people overlook, is that an electrical inspection checks an installation meets CURRENT standards and these standards change and become more rigorous every year – so if your property has not had a major electrical upgrade in the past 10 years, it will probably need one now and that will mean major disruption for your tenants. 

What Does This Mean For You? 

 This is probably best explained by one of our members. This is the letter he sent to his tenant:

"As you are aware, from 2021 all rented properties need to have an electrical certification (EICR). This is not only the law but it is also to ensure all the people in the house are safe.

As you know, two electricians have looked at what's required and the first one didn't even want to quote for the work. The second said the minimum that is required is to rewire the ground floor sockets which would be impossible with laminate floors and concrete kitchen floor with all your belongings in situ.

My preferred solution would be to offer you a full deposit return and an additional one month rent refund for you to vacate and move to another property making your next property virtually free for the first month to begin. This would allow me to get the work done while the property is empty, which makes it easier for the electrician and cheaper for me, but more importantly, will allow you to carry on without the dirt and major disruption of option 2.

Option 2, which we did discuss, which was for you to stay in place. Being that this is just the ground floor, you can still sleep in the property, bathe and prepare food. This would mean you would need to empty both ground floor reception rooms of all furniture and clear all the kitchen sides for when the kitchen is done for 5 days. Now to reduce costs if I could get a permit for my van for a week you could store all the low value items in there for that time but it would be at your own risk and your responsibility to move everything in and back out again on completion.

If you choose this option, my intention would be for this to be done around September 2020 and as you understand this is not my preferred option and is more costly and time consuming and obviously, I would expect you to still pay the rent for the duration.

Also as discussed at completion the walls with be filled but not redecorated and any floors lifted will be done as carefully as possible with minimal damage and then re fitted as best as possible.

I would like you to have a good hard think and come back to me with what you would like to do because it is major interruption for you but I do understand you have lived there for a long time. I would also like to point out that the certificate lasts 5 years and maybe more interpretations around 2025 for possible more works maybe be required as electrical standards are always changing and if we do go with option 2, I will not be able to rewire the upstairs to bring it into line with the downstairs. "

Next Steps / What Should You Do? 

  Given coronavirus restrictions, we do hope the government will delay implementation of this new law – but whether they do or not, if you have a void period, do use it to get your property up to date and properly certificated – the alternative of trying to do it with a tenant in situ is, as you can see from the above example, not something anyone should undertake lightly.

Example Common Problems on Current EICRs (Electrical Inspections)

All my fuse boards are plastic but all have RCD protection.

The landlord above says all his fuse boards are plastic (current recommendation is for metal if anywhere under or near the stairs) but his are OK as they have RCS protection. Do yours?

He also reported that most of the failures in his properties are in these areas:-

- If the fuse board Tails have not been replaced ie 25mm on live and neutral and 16mm on the earth.

- If the bathroom lighting circuit has no rcd protection, two options move the mcbo over to the rcd side of consumer unit or switch mcbo for rcbo.

- Cooker and shower circuits usually running in 6mm cable which is fine but previously 40 amp mcbo acceptable but not now this has to be dropped down to 32 amp.

Usually costly as these this thing's will invariably generate a second visit. 

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Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.

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