COVID-19: GUIDANCE ON PRS
LAST UPDATED: 08 March 2021
UPDATED GUIDANCE FOR ELECTRICAL CONTRACOTRS UNDERTAKING PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY CHECKS DURING COVID-19
With the PRS deadline of April 2021 fast approaching we have received reports from contractors who are facing difficulties gaining access to properties due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To assist and to ensure NICEIC and ELECSA contractors benefit from the most up to date advice and guidance we have raised the matter with the Ministry of Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) who have provided the below guidance:
The rules have not
changed and MHCLG guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities relating to PRS regulations can be accessed here
This guidance discusses what landlords can do if they cannot find an inspector or tester or if their tenant will not allow them access – both of which are particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19.
However, in addition the Government has issued further guidance in relation to COVID-19 which can be seen below.
COVID-19 SPECIFIC GUIDANCE
MHCLG has written general guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities on renting in the context of COVID-19, a copy of this guidance is available here
This document is not specifically related to electrical safety regulations, but they are included. The guidance sets out MHCLG’s expectation 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
MHCLG’s specific advice, contained in both sets of guidance, is as follows:
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 which 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.