Whilst the majority of landlords take the safety of their tenants seriously, the same cannot be said for everyone. That’s why there are rules in place when it comes to things like electrical safety regulations that every landlord must follow. For the majority of landlords in the private rented sector, this won’t require them to do anything differently as most check their installations regularly. However, here’s everything you need to know so you can be sure that you’re 100% compliant.

What are the new electrical safety regulations?

In a bid to improve safety standards in all residential properties and particularly in the private rented sector, the electrical safety regulations for landlords were stepped up a notch by the government in 2020. Tenants deserve to live somewhere well-maintained and safe and unfortunately, there are a few landlords out there who have been cutting corners and putting tenants at risk by neglecting their duties.

What electrical certificates do landlords need?

So, what are these new electrical safety standards? Firstly, you need to ensure that you meet the national standards for electrical safety. The standards are called British Standard 7671 and a trained electrician will be able to check that your property meets these standards. The next thing to note is that all electrical installations in the property need to be inspected and tested by a qualified professional at least every 5 years.

After an electrician has carried out this inspection, they will then issue you with a report detailing the results and the date of the next test. As a landlord, you must keep this report safe and produce multiple copies.

You should send a copy to existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection; supply a copy to a new tenant before they move into the property; and finally, if a prospective tenant would like to see the report, you must share it within 28 days of the request. It’s also possible for the local authority to request to see it.

What type of rental properties does the Electrical Safety Regulation apply to?

For the majority of landlords, these electrical safety regulations will apply. The government states that where your private tenant has the right to occupy your property as their only/main residence and pays rent, the guidelines will stand. This can include assured shorthold tenancies and licenses to occupy.

What types of properties are excluded from these regulations?

Bear in mind that there are a few cases where these electrical safety inspections aren’t mandatory. This includes:

  • Social housing
  • Lodgers
  • Those on a long lease of 7 years or above
  • Student halls
  • Hostels and refuges
  • Care homes, hospitals and hospices and related healthcare accommodation

Image of hand managing electricity meter control on a tablet device.

What do I do if I get an unsatisfactory report?

If you have your electrical safety inspection undertaken and your report identifies urgent remedial work or further investigation, it’s up to you to arrange for this work to be carried out by a qualified and competent professional within 28 days. In some cases, the report will specify that an issue needs looking at in less than 28 days, so don’t assume and always check the report carefully.

Once you’ve had the required work carried out, you should get written confirmation from a qualified person that this remedial work has been complete and that the electrical safety standards have been met. If they have not been met, you need to detail that further work is required. Supply this confirmation together with a copy of the initial unsatisfactory report to each tenant of the property within 28 days, and to the local housing authority.

You will not need to have another electrical safety inspection. If you have solved all of the issues flagged, then you can put it to the back of your mind until the next one is due.

Image of an electrical fuse box.

Classification codes

Different classification codes show where remedial work is needed:

  • Code 1: Danger present. Risk of injury
  • Code 2: Potentially dangerous
  • Further investigation: Further investigation required without delay
  • Code 3: Improvement recommended

If code 1, code 2 or ‘further investigation’ is flagged for your rental property, landlords need to arrange remedial work. In the event of code 1, the electrician should resolve the issue immediately. When code 3 is raised, it’s not mandatory to carry out remedial work, but it would improve the safety of the installation.

How do I know that I’m using a qualified and competent professional to carry out the inspection?

It’s up to you to do your research and ensure that you’re enlisting the right kind of person. They must have adequate insurance that includes at least £2 million in public liability insurance and £250,000 in professional indemnity insurance. They must have a qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671) and a qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations. You must also ensure that they have at least two years of experience in carrying out periodic inspections and testing.

Head to NAPIT’s Electrical Inspector Register to find someone local to you. That way, you have peace of mind that you’ve hired someone with the right qualifications and experience.

Image of an electrician tending to a plug socket in the wall.

What happens if I don’t follow the new regulations?

If you don’t follow the new regulations, local authorities will be able to serve remedial notices on you and if this is ignored for more than 28 days, they can arrange the work to be carried out with consent from your tenant, but it’s you that will get the bill at the end of it.

We hope you now feel familiar with the latest electrical safety regulations. To read more guidance for landlords, visit our advice centre. Did you know we also compare landlord insurance to find the best quotes for your needs? To find out more, call us on 01788 818 670 or get a quote now.

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