PRS electrical regulations change

New electrical regulations within the private rental sector (PRS) come into effect as of the beginning of April. Landlords need to make sure that they are up to date to avoid hefty fines.;
Electricity

New electrical regulations within the private rental sector (PRS) come into effect as of the beginning of April.

These changes require electrical installations in PRS properties to be inspected and tested by a qualified electrician, every 5 years.

Regulations changing

These regulations came into effect back on June 1st of 2020 and applied to all new tenancies from July 1 2020. However, from the 1st of April, they will apply to all existing tenancies as well.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of charity Electrical Safety Frist commented:

“Good private rental sector landlords have always undertaken regular electrical checks”

“But making these checks a legal requirement, with a significant penalty if landlords fail to comply, brings clarity and reduces the electrical risk for people and property. And, of course, it is essential that these mandatory electrical checks are undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent person – a point we continue to highlight in all our campaigns.”

ECIR’s required

The EICR, or electrical installation condition report, highlights any urgent work that must be carried out to ensure that the property is safe.

Properties without these updated ECIR’s or which are failing to meet the new regulations could face hefty fines of up to £30,000.

Smaller fines will be issued for first-time offenders of £5,000.

This new update to the law was partly triggered by the tragedy of Thirza Whittall in 2008, who was electrocuted whilst stepping into her bathtub due to an unidentified electrical fault.

Lockdown limitations

During the national lockdown, these electrical safety checks have been legally allowed to go ahead.

If tenants are shielding or unwell with the virus, this deadline could have proven difficult for some landlords.

One way around this is the use of the self-service check-in method which allows tenants to complete checks on their property without professional tradesmen, or through video-link, meaning that the inspector would hopefully not need physical access.

Landlords are also obliged to provide tenants with a copy of the report within 28 days of the inspection.

Adrian Moloney, group sales director at Precise Mortgages commented:

“With around 4.4 million UK households living in private rented accommodation and electrical equipment responsible for almost 15,000 domestic fires each year, according to government statistics, the 1 April deadline will ensure even more tenants are protected by the legislation.”

“Brokers can play an important role by making sure their customers are aware of the rule changes and letting them know there is a solution if they need to bring a new property up to standard before letting it out.”

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.