Residential landlords may well find that they need to arrange additional electrical installation inspections in the coming months. 

The Government has laid The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 before Parliament and, if approved, these will mean that electrical installation inspections and testing must be carried out from 1 July 2020 (for new tenancies) and from 1 April 2021 (for existing tenancies).

There has been concern for some time that fire safety in the private rented sector lags behind that of the social rented sector, hence this step. The Regulations catch not only assured shorthold tenancies, but any tenancy where a person occupies a property as their only or main residence, and is paying a rent. There are certain exceptions (listed in Schedule 1), but the scope is generally broad.

Landlords will have to ensure that a qualified person tests the installation every 5 years, and they will have to provide a report. This test will have to be carried before a tenancy starts, or before 1 April 2021 if the tenancy is already in place. New tenants must be given a copy of the inspection report, and existing tenants can require a copy within 28 days.

These changes are likely to mean a significant amount of demand for inspections and testing, potentially over a relatively short period. Those intending to let out their properties need to plan ahead.