When letting your property in Plymouth, it can be challenging to keep up with the fast pace of changing legislation.

While Landlords often concentrate on finding tenants for property to let in Plymouth, there is more to think about than is sometimes apparent when it comes to the safety obligations in place.

As a professional letting agent in Plymouth, DC Lane publishes a series of legislation articles that help Landlords stay the right side of the lettings law, and keep tenants happy and safe.

Today we review the current electrical safety legislation for the private rented sector, rather originally named the “Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020”

The Regulations came into force on 1st June 2020 and cover all new and renewal tenancies as of this date.  As of 1st April 2021 all properties let on an AST (assured shorthold tenancy) must comply. This covers the vast majority of property lettings.

Penalties and fines can be imposed by the local authorities for breaches – of up to £30,000 and due consideration should be given to negligence claims and the prospect of criminal charges in the event of serious injury or worse. 

Have Landlords considered how non-compliance might affect any insurance in place?

Landlords must:

  • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
  • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
  • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
  • Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.

.. As well as other obligations! The full list can be obtained by contacting the team at DC Lane letting agents in Plymouth.

It is usual, but not compulsory, to have the test carried out by an electrician who is a member of a recognised governing body such as NICEIC or NAPIT. If you are considering a non-member, we recommend you check the .gov guidance first 

The report will cover the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property and will often report back with a RAG style report (Red, Amber, Green). Any faults are categorised as C1, C2 and C3 faults. On occasion FI results indicate further investigation should occur urgently.

The regulations require C1 faults to be rectified immediately, C2 faults urgently and C3 faults are considered advisory. A report without any C1, C2 faults or FI notations will be considered satisfactory.

Landlords have 28 days to remedy C2 faults, however our legal advisors caution that in practice thought should be given as to whether a delay of this length without clear reason would be acceptable should an incident occur as a result.  DC Lane estate agents recommend remedial works are carried out without any delay.

Our experience has shown that the classification of faults can be interpreted slightly differently from one electrician to the next, however the guidance they follow is well drafted and there is generally good consistency.

On occasion remedial quotes take into account likelihood of future regulation amendments within the 5 years, and therefore works advised ensures compliance in this timescale.

Most regular remedials we have seen to date range from simple changes of light fittings to full replacement of consumer units which upgrade ‘RCD protection’ while moving to non-combustible housing.  Some works can cost up to a few hundred pounds, but it’s always worth remembering that safety should be paramount.  These upgrades can also be considered a sound investment as they will almost certainly be required when the property is listed for sale with an estate agent in Plymouth.

At DC Lane we are committed to ensuring all property to let is compliant and we are pleased to assist and advise Landlords in Plymouth and surrounding areas. 

Landlords may find that enlisting an electrician can be difficult, time consuming and costly.  We maintain excellent relationships across the industry and have negotiated good value rates from a network of reliable & approved contractors.  If you have any questions about our service, or are thinking about letting a flat or letting a house in Plymouth, please get in touch today to find out more.

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