All domestic and commercial buildings in the UK available to buy or rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), giving the property an energy efficiency rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They are intended to give an indication of how costly it will be to heat and light the Property and its likely carbon dioxide emissions. An EPC is accompanied by a report recommending any cost-effective improvements that might be made to the property to achieve a better rating.
On 1st July 2020 the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will come into force in England and Wales.
What does it entail?
All private landlords of tenancies commencing on or after 1 July 2020 will be required to have electrical safety inspections and a condition report (EICR) carried out by a competent qualified person. The Landlord then has to provide a copy of the EICR to their tenants confirming that the inspection has been carried out and that the property complies with the standards set out in the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations.
The report must be given to the prospective tenants prior to occupation and whenever a certificate is replaced after a new inspection has taken effect and within the 28 days’ period of any request from the existing tenants, prospective tenants or the Local Authority.
An EICR is valid for 5 years but this is not always the case and care should be taken to ensure a replacement is obtained before the expiry date given in the certificate.
Landlords with existing tenancies (i.e. those which have commenced prior to 1 July 2020) have until 1st April 2021 to have the inspection carried out and the certificate provided to the tenant.
Breach or Non-compliance
In the event that a breach is identified in an EICR then that needs to be investigated further or remedied within 28 days and once remedied a further report is required to confirm that works have been carried out and that the property now complies with the regulations.
This would surely add more to further compliance that landlords would have to abide with. Equally, landlords with older but full functional and safe electrical installation would need to comply with the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations prior to re-letting or upon request of a new certificate from their existing tenants. In the event that the installation is not compliant with the 18th Edition of the EICR and reveals a non–satisfactory result, then landlords would have to use their best endeavours to remedy this and obtain an upgrade in order to comply with those regulations so that they do not fall foul of these new rules which would lead to potential tenant’s disputes.
The 18th Edition only came into force in 2019 so it is possible that any EICR obtained prior to that date will not be valid for the purpose of these regulations (as it would refer to the wrong edition of the Wiring Regulations)
The penalty for failing to comply is a heavy fine (maximum £30,000), a requirement to carry out the work in any event or the local authority carrying out the work and then charging it back to the landlord.
It is not yet clear whether the failure to provide a certificate will prevent the landlord form issuing a s21 notice but there may be parallels drawn with the Gas Safety regulations which have resulted in landlords being unable to serve s21 notices at all where they have failed to provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to their tenant before they occupy the property. It would be prudent to ensure that new tenants are without fail given the EICR before they occupy.
It would be wise for all landlords to follow the Government Guidance on renting and validity on serving a section 21 notice.
There has been no indication from the Government or the relevant authorities that these regulations have been delayed. In light of that, all private landlords are strongly advised to comply with the measures considering the hefty penalty for not doing so.
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