The Electrical Safety Standards (ESS) in the Private Rented Sector Regulations came into effect on 1st June 2020 and apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2020.
The new regulations state that landlords must have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and local authority if requested.
The government have introduced the regulations as part of wider work to improve safety and in all residential areas and to make sure the private rented sector offers high-quality, safe and secure housing.
What are the regulations?
The regulations require that landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
- Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’.
- Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
- Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
- Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
- Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
- Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
- Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.
Which tenancies are affected?
As previously mentioned, the regulations apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2020. These include assured shorthold tenancies, licenses to occupy, and HMOs if the HMO is a tenant’s only or main residence.
There are exceptions, however. These include social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of 7 years or more, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.
In order to find a qualified and competent person to carry out the test, landlords can check if the inspector is a member of a competent person scheme, or require the inspector to sign a checklist certifying their competence.
The inspector will test the fixed electrical parts of the property such as the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box). Permanently connected equipment like showers and extractors will also be tested. The regulations do not cover electrical appliances like cookers, fridges and televisions.
Inspectors will be looking to see if:
- any electrical installations are overloaded
- there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
- there is any defective electrical work
- there is a lack of earthing or bonding – these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations
Landlords must obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) from the inspector explaining the outcome of the inspection. It is important that the landlord keeps a record of this report as they are required to send the report to tenants, the local authority and future inspectors in a variety of situations, outlined in the regulations.
Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a landlord must undertake remedial work.
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous.
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory.
If the report does not require investigative or remedial work, the landlord will not be required to carry out any further work.
If the report shows that remedial work or further investigation is required, landlords must complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary. Written confirmation that the work has been done must then be provided by landlords to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days.
How Arthur helps you conform to the new ESS regulations
Arthur’s platform allows you to store everything you need in one place. This means you will be able to store the reports on Arthur so they are easily accessible when they need to be sent out to the relevant parties. Arthur can also automate reminders when a new inspection needs to be carried out to ensure you stay compliant.
This article is intended as a non-exhaustive guide only and is based on the government’s guidance for landlords about the electrical safety standards in the private sector. For further information please refer to the government’s website.