New Regulations on Electrical Safety in Private Rental Sector

Electrical safety in the private rental sector is vitally importance for landlords and letting agents but also provides opportunities from Electricians to build customer relationships and future business. 70 deaths and approximately 350,000 injuries occur in the UK as a result of faulty electrical installation or electrical equipment. Nearly half of all fires are electrically related in some way. Furthermore, if you live in rented accommodation statistics show that you are more at risk of experiencing an electrical shock than if you own your own home. However, now recent legislation may help to change this situation.

  • • What are the new regulations?
  • • What is an EICR?
  • • Who is exempt?
  • • Opportunities for electricians

 

What are the new regulations?

As of 1st June 2020, the ‘Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020’ came into force utilising the powers set out in the Housing and Planning Act 2016. It also makes amendments to the ‘Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006’. The obvious aim of the legislation is to place a greater emphasis on private landlords to ensure that their properties are electrically safe.

From the 1st July 2020 all new tenancies must have their electrical installation checked by a suitably qualified person and thereafter at least every 5 years. The inspection must meet the standards for electrical installations as defined in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018(3).

What is an EICR?

Following the inspection a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) should be given to the tenant as well as the landlord and the local council if they ask for it. A date for the next inspection should also be set out. Any dangerous situations that require urgent remedial action noted on the EICR should be rectified within 28 days. Failure to comply with these regulations carries significant financial penalties. All existing tenancies must comply with the regulations by the 1st April 2021.

Who is Exempt?

Exceptions are set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations . Excluded is social housing, council tenants or housing association tenants. It does not apply to lodgers that live with their landlords, or those on a long term lease of 7 years or more. Student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions are not included.

Improving electrical safety has always got to be viewed as a positive. The added expense to landlords should be seen not only as the necessary compliance to the regulations but by having an electrically safe property it also protects their investment and demonstrates correct responsibility to their tenants.

Opportunities for electricians

To the electrical contracting community it presents a fantastic opportunity to develop business and to nurture relationships that can lead to repeat business. When inspecting consumer units, other switchgear and distribution circuits it also enables the contractor to make landlords aware of the latest products that are now available and in certain cases mandatory, such as the possible need for surge protection. Others items like the Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDD) which is currently recommended under the latest edition of the wiring regulations for certain areas and circuits but are now widely recognised as a significant product to reduce the risk of electrical circuit fires and improving safety.

Even when inspecting wiring accessories there are opportunities to offer localised surge protected socket outlets to shield modern TVs, computers or game consoles or to offer outlets that incorporate USB charger ports. This not only enables the installer to up-sell the installation but acts as a win win as it would also value-add the property to prospective tenants.

Meeting regulations always has a cost element associated with it to someone. However by being proactive staying compliant can also be an opportunity to market that compliance that generates returns and of course reduces the risk of the far greater cost of experiencing a fire.

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