Electrical Safety Inspections 2020

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020 and apply to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020. 

Government guide for landlords

Government guide for tenants

These new regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected at least every 5 years and tested by a person who is qualified and competent. Landlords will also have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants as well as to the local authority if requested. 

For most landlords in the private rented sector this will not require a change in behaviour. The majority of landlords already check their installations regularly so they can provide the safest homes possible. However to ensure every landlord can comply with these regulations.

Private landlords must ensure every electrical installation in their residential premises is inspected and tested at intervals of no more than 5 years by a qualified and competent person.

The regulations apply in England to all new specified tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021. ‘New specified tenancies’ is any tenancy created on or after 1 June 2020.

Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must:

Aquire the report from the person conducting that inspection and test, which gives the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test
supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of the inspection and test
supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority
retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test
supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant of the specified tenancy to which the report relates before that tenant occupies those premises; and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant
Action needed in the event of an Unsatisfactory Report:
Where an Electrical Installation Safety Report identifies urgent remedial work or requires ‘further investigation’, the private landlord must ensure that the required work is carried out by a qualified and competent person within 28 days (or the period specified in the report if it is less than 28 days), starting with the date of the inspection and testing.

The landlord must then:

obtain written confirmation from a qualified person that further investigative or remedial work has been carried out and that the electrical safety standards are met or the further investigative or remedial work is required
supply that written confirmation, together with a copy of the report which required the further investigative or remedial work to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work, and also to the local housing authority within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work.
Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new regulations and can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they find a landlord is in breach of their duty.

Local authorities have the power to serve remedial notices on the private landlord. If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken with 28 days, the local authority can arrange remedial work to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord.


What ‘report’ should I be asking for?
The regulations just refer to a report being obtained by the person conducting the inspection and test. Typically, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is used within the industry for this purpose.

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a report carried out to assess the safety of the existing electrical installation within a property and is used to describe its condition. Parts of the system that are reported on include consumer units, protective bonding, lighting, switches and sockets etc. Its purpose is to confirm as far as possible whether or not the electrical installation is in a safe condition for continued service.

The EICR will show whether the electrical installation is in a ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ condition and will detail a list of observations affecting the safety or requiring improvements.

These observations will be supported by codes.

Unsatisfactory Codes are:

C1 – Danger present, risk of injury, immediate remedial action required
C2 – Potentially Dangerous, urgent remedial action required
FI – Further investigation required
A Satisfactory Code is:

C3 – Improvement recommended
Action is required if the EICR issued is unsatisfactory. If an EICR contains a C1, C2 or FI code, it is unsatisfactory. If a C1 is discovered, the electrician will often take action using temporary measures to make the dangerous installation safe. Then, as is also the case with a C2 or FI code, it is the owner’s responsibility to organise a repair, replacement or further investigation within 28 days.

A C3 code, ‘improvement recommended’, is given to aspects of the installation that do not present a danger but will result in an increased safety standard within the property. Occasionally a C3 code may be attributed to an item that does not comply with current regulations but did comply at the time it was installed. A C3 code does not mean the installation is unsafe and should not impose a requirement to have work carried out on the owner. Where there are only C3 observations listed, this will result in a satisfactory EICR being issued.

Will I get a Certificate to demonstrate my compliance?
There is no requirement for an electrical inspector and tester to issue you with a certificate but a report will be issued which must include:

The results of the inspection and test (satisfactory or unsatisfactory)
If applicable, a list of observations requiring remedial work or further investigation
The date the next inspection and test is due by

Do I have to have another full electrical installation safety report carried out if my first one is unsatisfactory?
No. If the electrical installation safety report is unsatisfactory, you will need to ensure any required remedial work or further investigation is carried out within 28 days or the within the time period specified on your report if less than 28 days. You will need written confirmation (Electrical Installation Certificates or Minor Work Certificates) from the electrical installer you use to do any rectification work to prove the required works have been completed, and this must be kept with the unsatisfactory report.

If my property already has a satisfactory Electrical Installation Safety Report which is less than 5 years old, do I have to get another one done to the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations Standard?
Not necessarily. You should review your report to see what was recommended on it and consider how your property has been let since it was carried out. If big differences to the property have occurred, e.g. high turnover of tenants, DIY work found, flood damage, then it would be prudent to get another electrical safety report done. If no changes have been made, then your report will remain valid until the next inspection date specified.

What types of tenancy are caught by the regulations?
If a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent, then the regulations apply, subject to some excluded tenancies (set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations). This includes assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy.

Will an electrical report need to be done at the start of a statutory periodic tenancy or during the transitional period?
Properties let on statutory periodic tenancies where the fixed term expires between July 2020 and April 2021 will require an inspection and test at this point under the Regulations. For statutory periodic tenancies – where on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy rolls over into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute (rather than by contract) – the periodic tenancy would be a new tenancy.

Does this Regulation apply to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
Yes. These regulations repeal the previous legislation which set the requirement on HMO landlords on the 1st June 2020.

If an electrical report is not given to a tenant before they move in (or within 28 days of a renewal of a report) does it prevent a Section 21 notice from be served?
No, this won’t be the case under these regulations.

What happens if I don’t comply with these Regulations?
If, as a private landlord, you do not get a satisfactory electrical installation safety report for your property within the timescales outlined within the regulations, or you fail to undertake required remedial work or further investigation within the necessary timeframe, the local housing authority must serve a remedial notice giving the landlord 28 days to take action.

If the landlord fails to take action, the local housing authority can arrange for an authorised person to undertake the required remedial work, subject to agreement by the tenant. The local housing authority can recover costs reasonably incurred by them acting from the landlord and can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

Do these regulations apply to fixed and portable electrical appliances as well as the electrical installation?
These regulations do not place any defined requirement on fixed or portable electrical appliances provided by the landlord. It is recommended that landlord supplied electrical appliances should be regularly electrically inspected and tested and the testing of fixed electrical appliances could be agreed as part of the Electrical Installation inspection and test.