Business Advice · 29 March 2022

New Electrical Rules And Their Impact On Landlords In 2022

New Electrical Rules And Their Impact On Landlords in 2022

Landlords of residential property now need to ensure that their property has an EICR, or electrical installation condition report completed by a qualified electrician every five years. Any serious faults identified in the report must be resolved before the property can be let out to new tenants.

Rules surrounding the installation and frequency of electrical safety checks required for private rental property changed for landlords in 2020. If you’re a new landlord that has started renting out property since then, you will need to understand the new electrical rules and their impact on landlords in 2022.

Read on as we cover the changes in more detail including what you need to do to keep your tenants safe and adhere to your obligations as a landlord when it comes to electrical safety.

What Do Landlords Need to Know

Landlords have legal obligations that they must fulfil to lawfully and safely let out their property to others. If you are a private landlord that is currently renting out property to tenants or you are planning to invest in a buy-to-let property in the next few years, then you need to know that your obligations regarding electrical safety changed from April 2020.

The Mandatory Electrical Safety Inspections (EICRs) For Rental Property means that landlords in 2022 must now take additional steps to review, update and share their electrical safety certificates. This must be done in partnership with a qualified electrician who must carry out regular electrical safety checks and remedial works required in line with the new rules. Failure to complete the checks at the required intervals puts landlords at risk of a fine of up to £30,000 from their local authority if caught openly breaching the regulations.

What Are The New Rules

The new regulations, titled The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, were officially brought in on 1st April 2020. The news rules cover electrical safety and in particular, the checks that a landlord must carry out and the records that they must keep to comply with new electrical safety standards announced by the Government. All landlords must have an electrical installation condition report, known as an EICR.

What Is An EICR?

Electrician cutting wires in socket

An EICR or electrical installation condition report is a legal requirement for all residential landlords in England and Scotland. To get an EICR, a qualified electrician will need to visit the property and complete a check on the sockets, fuse board and circuits to make sure they’re safe for use.

The time of the inspection will vary based on the size of the property but expect it to take around 3-4 hours and once the electrician has completed their checks, they will provide you with a report confirming if the property has passed the safety checks or if any remedial works are required. The EICR is valid for 5 years and will provide peace of mind for you and your tenants that the electrical wiring at the property is maintained to a safe standard.

Unsafe electrical issues will be flagged as needing repair on the report and will be categorised in order of priority. If your electrical installation condition report has any C1 works listed, then this means a serious electrical fault exists and you cannot move a tenant into the property until all required electrical works are completed to make the property safe again.

If you have a new property in your portfolio or have recently become a first-time landlord, you must make sure that the property has a valid EICR before letting it out to tenants. It’s recommended that you allow 8 weeks before you need to move tenants in to get the report done and any resulting works completed and it’s a good idea to test any portable appliances that you intend to leave on the property for the duration of the tenancy at the same time.

Landlords must make sure that their inspection is carried out by a fully qualified electrician as only they can issue certificates for the checks that will be accepted by local authorities and letting agents.

What Has Changed?

The new regulations, titled The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, were officially brought in on 1st April 2020. Before the government brought in the new EICR rules, electrical inspections were only a legal requirement for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and only a recommendation for other private landlords.

As with most new legislation, a phasing-in period was granted meaning that from July 2020, all ‘new’ tenancies required an up-to-date EICR, but from 1st April 2021, all tenancies, both old and new are required to have an up-to-date and valid electrical installation condition report.

You can view the full legislation including penalties for not complying on the government’s website here.

Financial Penalties For Failure To Comply

After the initial phase in the period which ended in 2021, Landlords have no excuse for not holding a valid electrical certificate and can be heavily penalised if caught breaching their responsibilities set out by the regulations.

This means that new and existing landlords renting out property in 2022 must arrange for a qualified electrician to provide a condition report before any new rental term begins and existing tenancies must be up to date with their testing too.

If you are caught breaching your duties as a landlord under the regulations, then the local authority will issue you a remedial notice to carry out the recommended actions and if that is unsuccessful then they can impose a penalty of up to £30,000.

What Will The Electrician Do?

Electrical map of house and tools

The electrician that you instruct to carry out the periodic inspections required will assess the electrical components of the whole property. During their inspection, they will be looking for issues that have the potential to cause fire or electric shocks, check serviceability of appliances, identify defective wiring, lack of earthing, and pick up on and comment on overloading of sockets.

Following their assessment, which may take at least 3 or 4 hours, the electrician will compile their findings into an EICR report that is passed on to you as the landlord. The report will list their findings and advise if the property is safe or unsatisfactory. Any actions that need to be taken to resolve any safety issues will be identified and must be actioned out before any new tenancy can begin.

How Long Will It Take?

The amount of time the check takes will vary depending on the size and age of the house. Older properties tend to have outdated wiring which will take longer to test safely and bigger homes will have more sockets, applicants and circuits to check meaning the job will take longer the bigger your property is. When booking your EICR with your electrician, ensure they know the size of your property so that they can provide an accurate quote and timescale for the job. Most will quote for either a half-day or full day’s work.

How Much Does The Report Cost?

The cost of an EICR will vary depending on the size and location of the property, as well as the complexity of your electrical circuit board and wiring. On top of this, the experience and qualifications of an electrician can add another variable to the cost as each electrician will have their own hourly rate.

In short, it’s impossible to give you an exact price for the cost of an electrical safety inspection but with the average cost of an electrician ranging between £80 and £200 an hour, you can expect an electrical safety check for a modest two-bedroom house to cost in the region of £500. Larger houses may be more and smaller properties will be less.


 
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