As a landlord, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that before a tenant check’s into your property, you have the following:
- Valid gas safety certificate (renewable every 12-months)
- Valid energy performance certificate (renewable every 10-years)
- Working smoke alarms on every floor
The rules surrounding your electrical responsibilities have always been a grey area, as there has been no legal requirement to provide your tenant with an electrical inspection report. Yet, you have a specific duty to ensure that your property is in ‘good repair and proper working order’. However, change is on its way.
What is new?
New standards of electrical safety, as well as legal requirements on the service of documents to relevant people, are coming into force. As a result, any new tenancy created or renewed on or after 1st July 2020 will require an electrical inspection and a report on the condition of the property (EICR) performed by a qualified person.
It is important to note that renewals will include statutory periodic tenancies (SPT) that are automatically created at the end of a fixed-term on or after this date. These are often referred to as ‘rolling contracts’ where the same terms and conditions still bound the landlord and tenant as the original contract, but, either party can serve appropriate notice at any time (tenant one full month, landlord two full months).
As an example; if the existing tenancy agreement ends on 1st August 2020 and you choose not to renew but are happy to retain the same tenants, it will automatically move on to an SPT, and you will, therefore, need to have an electrical report carried out.
For pre-existing tenancies, you will need to have an EICR performed before 1st April 2021.
Who do I need to give copies of the EICR to?
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 set out several different requirements around providing copies of the EICR to relevant people:
- The EICR must be given to all of the tenants before they occupy the property.
- When you replace the EICR, you must provide them with a copy of the new report within 28-days of inspection.
- If a tenant requests a copy of the EICR in writing, you must also provide them with one within 28-days.
- Where the local authority requests the EICR, you must provide them with a copy of it within 7-days or face potential penalties.
- Any prospective tenants who request a copy in writing must be provided one within 28-days.
How often do I need to replace the EICR?
The standard EICR lasts 5-years, but this can be shorter so you should replace it as often as needed to ensure it remains valid.
I have a pre-existing EICR. Do I need to get another one?
Possibly. The current draft of the regulations appears to invalidate any EICR that does not meet the standards of the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations. As this edition only came into force in 2019, most EICRs are therefore potentially invalid.
Worryingly, this could lead to a lot of properties requiring extensive work as most were not built with 18th edition guidance in place. There may be better news to come, however, as industry bodies suggest that the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) will allow existing EICR’s to remain valid. An update is expected on this soon.
What do I need to do now?
Given that these regulations are coming into force very soon and, despite the current situation surrounding COVID-19, there are no plans to delay this new legislation, we would advise that all Landlords consider obtaining the appropriate checks immediately. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but your property may require some work to be carried out, and this will give you extra time to do that.
If you are a landlord on any of our managed packages, we will contact you to discuss your requirements and the options available to you.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.