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New law: Landlords face new requirement for electrical safety checks for residential lets

Residential landlords must comply with a new requirement to carry out electrical safety checks at properties they let on new tenancies, and on existing tenancies, including assured shorthold tenancies that have ‘rolled over’ and become statutory periodic tenancies.

May 2020

This update was published in Legal Alert - May 2020

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

The new rules, policed by local authorities, apply to all tenancies where the tenant is living in a property as their main or only residence and pays rent.

A ‘new tenancy’ means one granted on or after 1 June 2020, and landlords of such tenancies must have carried out a check before 1 July 2020. For existing tenancies, a check must be carried out before 1 April 2021.

The checks must be carried out every five years by a qualified person, who reports whether the electrical installations comply with the IEEE wiring regulations 2018. These regulations impose stricter standards than before, so many installations dating from before 2018 are likely to fail.

New tenants must be given a copy of the report before they move in, and prospective tenants must be given a copy within 28 days, if they apply in writing. The check will therefore have to be done before a property is marketed.

Liability remains with the landlord, even if they are using letting agents.

Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation will already have carried out such checks under special rules that apply to them, and other landlords may have done so voluntarily. The government has said that landlords who have already carried out a check within the last five years do not need a new one. However the regulations containing the new law say the checks must comply with standards set out in British Standard BS 7671: 2018. This implies that checks carried out before this standard came into force in 2018 may not satisfy the new requirement. Landlords may wish to take advice.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Residential landlords should consider checking electrical installations on let properties now, to assess whether and what work is needed to pass the checks before they can grant or renew tenancies.

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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