Landlords face £30k fines under new electric safety rules

Landlords could be fined up to £30,000 if they break new rules on electrical safety standards for the private rented sector.

The regulations, expected to come into force this summer, will include estates and farm businesses in England with let residential property.

Under the regulations, landlords must ensure that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested by a qualified person at least every five years.

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The period between checks may be even shorter if an installation is found to be compliant but “aged” and may become a risk before the five-year timeframe ends.

Any remedial work will need to be carried out within 28 days of the inspection, or sooner if specified in the following inspection report.

Take steps for compliance

Failure to carry out the checks and any work needed could result in hefty fines.

Luke Clay, surveyor at Strutt & Parker, advised landlords to introduce a plan and budget for mandatory five-yearly electrical safety checks.

“Landlords should check when electrical installations were last inspected and take steps to ensure they will be compliant when the time comes,” Mr Clay said.

He added that regulations were expected to apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

While social housing, long leases and student halls of residence are directly excluded from the regulations, the new rules draw in most other tenancies.

“It’s likely, although this must be confirmed, the rules will capture Rent Act tenancies and tenancies forming part of an employee’s contract of employment,” Mr Clay explained.

“[For example] a farmworker living in a farm or estate cottage, for the better performance of his or her duties,” he said.

Similar legislation is already in place in Scotland.

In Wales, any landlord who has a rental property rented on an assured-, assured-shorthold or regulated tenancy is required to register with Rent Smart Wales, which includes five-yearly electrical safety checks in its Code of Practice.