COVID-19: GUIDANCE ON PRS
LAST UPDATED: 5th January 2022
UPDATED GUIDANCE FOR ELECTRICAL CONTRACOTRS UNDERTAKING PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY CHECKS DURING COVID-19
The rules relating to the electrical safety checks required in the private rented sector (PRS) have not changed as a result of the pandemic.
This UK government guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities relating to PRS regulations explains what landlords can do if they can’t find an inspector or tester, or if their tenant won’t allow them access. Both scenarios are particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19.
COVID-19 SPECIFIC GUIDANCE
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG – now the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) has written further general guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities on renting in the context of COVID-19. It includes useful information related to electrical safety regulations.
Fundamentally, they expect that a pragmatic, risk-based and common-sense approach to enforcement is taken in the light of COVID-19, and the impact this may have on landlords’ ability to comply with regulatory requirements.
Summary of guidance – What you need to know
Specific advice, contained in both sets of guidance, is that:
A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice if they can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.
A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with tenants and electricians as they attempt to make arrangements to carry out the work, including any replies.
Landlords may also wish to provide other evidence that shows the electrical installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous condition reports.
A landlord who has been prevented from accessing the premises will not be required to begin legal proceedings against their tenant to show that all reasonable steps have been taken to comply with their duties.