The majority of landlords take their duties seriously when it comes to ensuring the safety of their tenants, but there are always a few who fail to do so, putting their tenants in danger as a result.
Electrical certificates didn’t used to be a requirement for landlords unless the property was a House of Multiple Occupation, but new landlord regulations have recently been introduced making electrical inspections and tests compulsory for privately rented properties.
Failure to comply with these regulations could result in a fine of up to £30,000, so it’s important to know what the new landlord legislation is and what it means for you.
What are the new electrical safety regulations?
From July 1st 2020, landlords are required to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested at least every five years. The inspections must be carried out by a qualified and competent electrician, and the inspector will produce a report saying whether the electrical installations meet electrical safety standards.
Landlords have to provide their tenants with a copy of the electrical safety report within 28 days, and the local authority may also request a copy, which has to be supplied within seven days.
If hazards are identified, landlords must carry out all necessary repairs within 28 days, or a shorter period if specified in the report. If they fail to do so, the council can serve a notice requiring the landlord to make the necessary improvements.
The regulations apply to new tenancies from July 1st 2020 and existing tenancies from April 1st 2021.
Exceptions include social housing, lodgers, those on a long lease of seven years or more, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions. 
How often do you need a landlord electrical certificate, and how long does it last?
You need a new certificate at least every 5 years.
How much does a landlord electrical certificate cost?
The cost of the inspection and report depends on the size of the property, but you’ll typically expect to pay between £100 and £250. Shop around to get the best deal and ensure there are no hidden costs.
What exactly will be inspected and tested?
All ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property will be inspected, including wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse boxes. Other permanently connected electrical equipment such as showers and extractor fans will also be tested.
Electrical appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers aren’t included in the regulations, but landlords should regularly carry out portable appliance testing on these to ensure they’re safe for tenants.
Tenants are responsible for making sure their own electrical appliances are safe.
What safety checks do landlords need?
As well as an electrical certificate, landlords need an annual gas safety certificate and an energy performance certificate.
Other safety checks include a legionella risk assessment, portable appliance testing (PAT) and fire safety checks such as the testing of carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.
Landlords should also check that all blinds are safe for young children and that all furniture and furnishings comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The entire property should also comply with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which assesses 29 housing hazards and the effect that each may have on the health and safety of tenants.
If you’re a landlord, you could consider getting a managing agent to look after your properties for you. As well as arranging electrical inspections and ensuring you are up to date and compliant with all legislation, they can also collect rent and deal with any queries from tenants.