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Electrical safety in rented property

This information only applies in England.

All private residential landlords must make sure their properties are safe. From 1 April 2021, most private rented homes in England must have electrical safety checks. Read this guide to find out more about these electrical safety checks.

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All landlords (including private landlords, councils and housing associations) must ensure that their homes are safe and fit to live in throughout the tenancy.

Landlords must make sure to keep wiring and installations in safe working order.

Tenants must:

  • report any electrical faults as soon as possible

  • allow access to the property for repairs and safety inspections

  • ensure their own appliances are safe to use

Tenants can carry out visual safety checks but should not carry out their own electrical repairs.

From 1 July 2020, private landlords in England must comply with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

Under the Regulations, landlords must ensure that all electrical installations are inspected and tested by a registered electrician. The electrician will produce a report explaining the outcomes of the inspection and listing any investigative or remedial work required.

A copy of the report will be given to the landlord. The tenant(s) should also be given a copy. 

When should the electrical safety checks be carried out?

If the tenancy started on or after 1 June 2020, the landlord should have carried out the checks before the tenant moves in and should give the tenant a copy of the report. If the tenant has not received a copy of the most recent report they should contact the landlord and ask for a copy. The landlord must provide a copy within 4 weeks.

If the tenancy started before 1 June 2020, the landlord must have carried out the checks by 1 April 2021. If the property has been built or rewired in the last 5 years, the landlord can give the tenant an electrical installation certificate (EIC) instead and will not have to arrange for a safety check.

Residential landlords with lodgers are not required to carry out these electrical safety checks but may choose to if they want to make sure the home is safe.

What is being tested during an inspection?

The registered electrician will test and inspect the property’s fixed electrical installations (plugs, wiring, sockets and light fittings). They will not check the safety of movable items (eg TVs, kettles and toasters) unless the landlord has asked the electrician to carry out a portable appliance (PAT) test. PTA testing is not a legal requirement for landlords, but it is recommended in order to keep the property safe.

The electrician can repair any immediate hazards before they leave the property. 

What report will the electrician give the landlord?

The electrician will provide the landlord with an electrical installation condition report (EICR).

The report will either:

  • confirm that the electrical installation meets the required safety standards

  • require additional investigation or repairs

It will also set out when the next electrical safety check should be carried out. For more information, read Electrical Safety First’s guidance.

Landlords should check the EICR to see if the electrician has written one of the following codes next to any of the installations:

  • further investigation (FI) - further investigation required. This has to be done within 4 weeks or sooner if it says this in the report

  • code 1 (C1) - dangerous installation which is not suitable for continued use and requires repairs. This has to be done within 4 weeks or sooner if it says this in the report

  • code 2 (C2) - potentially dangerous installation which is not suitable for continued use and requires repairs. This has to be done within 4 weeks or sooner if it says this in the report

  • code 3 (C3) - improvements are recommended but not required. This means that the installation has passed the electrical safety check

What if the landlord doesn’t comply with the Regulations?

If a local authority has reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord is in breach of the Regulations, they will serve a remedial notice on the landlord requiring remedial action. 

If the landlord does not comply with such a remedial notice, the local authority can arrange for remedial action to be taken. The local authority can then recover the costs of taking the remedial action from the landlord. The landlord has the right to appeal against such a demand for costs. For more information on the appeals process, see the government’s guidance.

Local authorities may also impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties under the Regulations.

For more information, see the government’s guidance.

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