Electrical Checks in Privately Rented Homes - What You Need to Know

01 June 2020

Posted on by Penny Walshe

Today, new legislation has been introduced in England that means landlords are required to have the electrical installations in their rental properties checked by an electrician every five years.

It’s something that we have been campaigning for over a number of years and is a welcome step in improving the safety of the 4.5 million households in the Private Rented Sector.

All electrical installations deteriorate with age and use. Carried out by an electrician, a periodic inspection will identify any problems that need to be fixed in order to make the installation safe. This includes

  • Checking if electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
  • Identifying potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • Finding any defective electrical work

The electrician will issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) that includes details of the inspection, recommendations for action that must be taken and a declaration as to whether the installation is safe.

So, if you are a private landlord or tenant, what does this mean for you?

Landlords

  • Electrical installations must be inspected and tested before the start of a new tenancy from 1st July 2020
  • Checks must be carried out on any existing tenancies by 1st April 2021.
  • These checks must then be carried out on a five yearly basis.
  • If any work needs to be carried out in order to make the installation safe, this must be done within 28 days of the initial inspection.
  • A copy of the EICR must be provided to both new and retained tenants

It is your responsibility as a landlord to make sure that the person who carries out the inspection and any repair work highlighted as a result of it is suitably competent. The best way to ensure this is to use an electrician registered with a Government-approved scheme. You can find an electrician here.

More advice for landlords and a free leaflet that offers more information about how you can keep your tenants and properties safe is available here.

Tenants

By law, your landlord must ensure that the electrical installation in your rented home is safe for the duration of your tenancy.

If you are a new tenant, this should be completed before you move in. For existing tenancies, the landlord must have the electrical checks completed by 1st April 2021. They must then provide you with a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report, confirming that the property is safe.

If you are worried about an electrician coming into your home during the COVID-19 crisis, our blog post will help you to maintain social distancing while work is carried out.

Find out more about your electrical safety obligations as a tenant here.

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