New rules have come into force to ensure private rental properties are safer for housing tenants.

From 1 June this year, private landlords have to make sure that fixed electrical installations in their homes are safety tested by a qualified person. North Devon Council is warning landlords who do not comply with the new rules that they could face a fine of up to £30,000.

The regulations will cover new tenancies from 1 July 2020, but will apply to all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. 

The new legislation require landlords to make sure that the electricity supply in their rented properties is safe - and this includes arranging for an electrical safety test report from a qualified person at least every five years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the report to their tenants, and to the council if requested.

Lead Member for Housing at North Devon Council, Councillor Nicola Topham, says: “The majority of landlords are proactive when it comes to ensuring the safety of their tenants, but a minority fail to do so, putting their tenants in danger as a result. We are fortunate to have a thriving private rented sector in North Devon with landlords providing good quality accommodation for families, and these regulations will help to further protect their tenants.

"At the council, we have a vital role to play in ensuring tenants can be sure of high-quality, safe and healthy private rented properties. Under these new regulations we can make sure landlords carry out remedial works or even arrange for repairs to be done and recover the cost from the landlord."

For tenants, these regulations mean that:

  • The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box, including permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors in rented homes must be inspected and tested every 5 years, or more often than this if the inspector thinks that is necessary
  • The regulations do not cover electrical appliances such as kettles, toasters, hairdryers etc
  • Throughout the whole time a tenant is living at the property, national electrical safety standards must be met
  • Your landlord must give you a report that shows the condition of the property’s electrical installations
  • If you sign a new tenancy agreement on or after 1 July 2020 the regulations will apply to your rented home straight away
  • If you signed your tenancy agreement before 1 July 2020 the regulations will apply for you from 1 April 2021

These Regulations do not cover social housing. Tenants of housing associations should contact their housing provider if they are worried about the electrics in the property. These Regulations also do not cover tenants who live with their landlord (lodgers).