Since the beginning of April, the majority of residential tenancies in the private rental sector must meet new standards that came into force on 1 July 2020.
Landlords granting tenancies from 1 June 2020 onwards were required to comply with The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations (“the Regulations”); with effect from 1 April 2021, the Regulations now also apply to any tenancies that existed prior to 1 July 2020.
Whilst many landlords already follow electrical best practices, the new Regulations aim to ensure tenants are safe during their tenancy. As such, local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 on landlords who are in breach of their duties under the Regulations.
Currently, it seems that a failure to provide a tenant with a electrical safety report will not invalidate a landlord’s section 21 notice to terminate a tenancy, unlike the failure to provide a gas safety certificate. It may be considered that the mandatory nature of the Regulations and potential high penalties are sufficient to encourage compliance, or it may be related to proposed abolition of section 21 notices. Any changes may not come into effect for some due to the current effects of the pandemic.
The MHCLG has published detailed guidance on the Regulations for landlords and tenants and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities