Changes to Electrical Safety regulations that come into effect as a requirement in 2021 and 2022.

07 January 2021

Two safety regulation changes that come into force in 2021 and 2022.

Private landlords – new electrical safety regulations requirements come into force on 1 April 2021

Effective since 1 June 2020 a new regulation under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, meant provision has been made to allow for legislation for electrical safety standards in private rented property. This follows similar legislation previously introduced in Scotland. 
 
The new regulations apply in England only. New tenancies that were granted on or after 1 July 2020 must meet the requirement and from 1 April 2021, all existing tenancies must comply. 
 
  • They will apply to premises let to one or more people who are occupying the premises as their only or main residence and paying rent i.e. all properties in the private rented sector. They do not apply to social landlords, long leases or tenancies granted for a term of seven years or more, student housing, and tenancies of hostels, refuges, care homes, hospitals or hospices. 
  • Private landlords will be required to ensure that their electrical installations comply with relevant electrical safety standards set out in the present IET Wiring Regulations. Any electrical installations testing needs be carried out and reported by a suitably qualified electrical engineer (see below). Testing must be undertaken every five years. 
  • Any defective wiring or equipment identified from the safety inspection needs to be brought up to the relevant standard under the present I.E.T. Wiring Regulations. 
  • Landlords are required to give the report to existing tenants within 28 days of the testing inspection visit. New tenants must receive a copy before they occupy the premises. If a local authority requests the report this must be supplied to them within seven days. 
  • If the report states that remedial works are required, the landlord must carry out such works within 28 days of the inspection (or sooner, if indicated by the report). The landlord must then confirm to the tenants and the local housing authority that the remedial works have been done. 
  • If the landlord fails to carry out remedial works within the specified time period, the local housing authority will be able to carry out the works itself and recover costs from the landlord. Where non-urgent remedial works are required, the local housing authority must have served a remedial notice on the landlord giving the landlord an opportunity to carry out the works (within 28 days) before it does them itself. 
  • As well as having the power to complete works themselves, the local authority will be able to impose a financial penalty on landlords for breach of their obligations, up to a maximum of £30,000. 
  • Any safety checks or remedial works identified need to be undertaken by qualified electrical contractors only. Qualified electricians are recognised: 
  • On the Roll of Approved Electrical Installation Contractors issued by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) 
  • As a member of the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) 
  • As a member of The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT). 
Any defective wiring or equipment identified from the safety inspection needs to be brought up to the relevant standard under the present I.E.T. Wiring Regulations. 
 
Visit the government website for more information.

Changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act come into effect 1 February 2022

Please note this is a summary, please visit legislation.gov.uk for more detailed information. 
 
From 1 February 2022 new regulation under the Housing Act (Scotland) 1987 comes into force requiring all housing in Scotland to have interlinked smoke/heat detectors and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detection (where there is a carbon fuelled appliance e.g. boilers, fires including open fires, heaters and stoves).
 
Under the Housing Act (Scotland) 1987 there are two standards known as the ‘Repairing Standard’ and the ‘Tolerable Standard’ which both set out various minimum standards for housing including one for fire detection. The ‘Repairing Standard’ applies to rented property with the ‘Tolerable Standard’ applicable to all housing. 
 
Under the current ‘Repairing Standard’ there is a requirement for interlinked smoke / heat detectors and CO detection to be fitted into all rented housing, this will be extended to all housing (irrespective of tenure) from February 2022, and will not have any retrospective exemption meaning every house / flat etc. should comply by February 2022.
 
Enforcing the standard will obviously be difficult, but one way the Scottish Government will do this is via the housing market. If a home owner wants to sell their property they will have to demonstrate compliance in the Home Report for the property, without this, the home cannot be sold.
 
The minimum level of protection coverage required is a system with tamper proof smoke and/or heat detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the premises e.g. hall, stairs, landings etc. and in all rooms or areas that present a high risk of fire to occupants, including any kitchen and the principle habitable room. This is called a Grade D1 system with protection category LD2 under the standard for domestic fire alarms BS5839 -6. 
 
All new housing in Scotland already meets this as it is the current standard in the Building Regulations (Scotland), it is existing housing where the main issue lies. There will be homeowners who already have smoke detectors fitted, however, if these are not interlinked, do not have tamper proof batteries or are not mains wired they will need replacement. There is also the additional issue of CO detectors being required.
 
Whilst this does not come into force until February 2022, in order to give advance warning and best advice, our Surveyors have been highlighting the impending change to our customers.