As a landlord, it is your responsibility to take all the necessary steps to ensure your tenants are safe. In other words, this means you have to ensure the electrical installations like lighting systems, wirings and others along with any electrical equipment that has been provided by you are safe to use when the tenancy starts and remain that way throughout the period.
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Electrical Testing in the Wake of the Covid- 19 Outbreak
Now that the freedom of movement has been restored in greater part of the country landlords must pull their socks up and get as much as possible done to fulfil their legal commitments on electrical safety.
However, if a localised zone is under lockdown or a rented property is inaccessible because someone is on self-isolation or is ill with Corona virus infection, it is important to keep evidences handy that confirm your willingness to remain abide by the law. Moreover, you need to keep your tenants aware about the circumstance in writing, says a professional dealing in landlord electrical safety certificate. There is nothing to get annoyed about. You can be rest assured that all local authorities as well as other enforcement agencies are encouraged to take a pragmatic, common sense approach amidst the ongoing pandemic in implementing rules of electrical safety.
Why electrical testing is necessary?
As far as statistics go, over 20,000 cases of electrical fires are reported every year from UK homes. Considering the serious threat to lives and properties this poses, electrical testing is more than crucial. Fires, burns and electric shocks usually result from the following:
- Gradual degeneration of electrical equipment and installations
- Damage sustained by sockets, switches and other equipment
- Manhandling and misuse of equipment and installations
- Insufficient care and maintenance
If your tenant suffers electric shock or something fatal because you neglected the electrics in your property, you will not only be heavily penalised but may also wind up in prison. Electrical testing is neither time consuming nor expensive unless extensive work has to be done to raise electrics to a certain standard. Therefore, there is just no reasonable excuse for not abiding by your legal obligations.
Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate Is a Legal Requirement
Before 2020, an electrical safety check was only required for privately rented properties that housed multiple occupations or HMOs. Owners or landlords of HMOs required to get the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested once every 5 years. It is also their responsibility to undertake any work that is necessary mentioned in the EICR. Moreover, the council can ask you to show the report any time, warns a licensed electrician busy with commercial EICR.
On the other hand, as far as standard single-let properties are concerned, the rule is open to interpretation as yet. The law simply says the landlord has to ensure that the electrics are safe.
But after a consultation back in 2019, the government introduced a mandatory 5-year check for the properties in PRS across England. According to the latest directive:
- It is must for all new tenancies starting from 01 June 2020 to have the electrical installations inspected and tested by a qualified individual before the tenancy commences.
- Furthermore, the installations must be inspected and tested once in 5 years. And it is more often if specified in the report.
- The law is applicable to the existing tenancies from 01 April 2021.
- A copy of the report is to be handed over to each tenant. For new tenants the copy is to be given at the time the tenant moves in while for existing ones within 28 days from the date of inspection.
- If the report mentions any further investigation or repair work then that must be done within 28 days from the date of inspection and must be conducted by a qualified and competent individual.
- As far as HMOs are concerned, the new law replaces the existing ones.
- The report has to be retained and given to the individual performing the next inspection.
- If the local building authority asks for a copy of the report, then you have to submit it to the concerned authority within a span of 7 days.
Penalties for Breach of Regulation
Landlords who ignore the importance of EICR inspection can be financially penalised and that sum may go up to £30,000. Moreover, in cases of repeated offence the insurance cover of your property may get lapsed. This is high time for landlords and property owners to understand their responsibilities well and book a test right on time. You pay anything between £100 and £150 plus VAT of course in most areas for the inspection and report, assuming no additional work needs to be done.