In 2016, the Planning Act 2016 provided the Secretary of State with the power to impose duties, through regulations, on private landlords of residential premises in England to ensure the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the premises are occupied.
As many Landlords will already be aware, or should be aware, the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (“ESSR”) was passed on 1 June 2020 requiring Landlords to ensure that every electrical installation in the premises is inspected and tested at regular intervals of no more than 5 years, by a qualified person.
For tenancies that started on or after 1 July 2020, Landlords must have arranged for the first inspection to take place before the start of the tenancy. For all other tenancies, landlords must ensure inspections are undertaken before 1 April 2021. As the deadline of 1 April 2021 looms, it is important for Landlords not to neglect their duty to comply with the ESSR.
The ESSR requires landlords to obtain an inspection report and provide a copy of that report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and keep a copy until the next inspection. If the Local housing authority request a copy, it must be provided to them within 7 days of their request.
If you fail to comply with the ESSR, the local housing authority may serve a remedial notice upon you and, if you are found to be in breach of the electrical safety regulations, a landlord could be fined up to £30,000.
There is no legislation in place that removes the duty of a landlord to comply with the ESSR relying on the circumstances of the pandemic. However, the ESSR provides that if a landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with their duty under the ESSR, they will not be in breach.
It is therefore advisable for landlords to retain evidence of communications with tenants and electricians where they have tried to arrange inspections to take place. It is also advisable to retain evidence that the installations in place are in good condition, pending an inspection by an electrician.
If you require assistance in arranging an electricity check for your property, responding to a tenant complaint, responding to a remedial notice served by the local authority, and any other landlord and tenant enquiry, we can assist you by dealing with the relevant responses and providing you with legal advice to ensure you are not found to be breach of the ESSR.
We can also help you recover rental arrears and possession of your property providing you with timely and practical advice.