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Mandatory electrical check requirements from December 2015

The Government has finalised its guidance on mandatory electrical testing which will come into force from 1st December 2015. All Scottish privately rented property covered by the Repairing Standard will require to comply as below, regardless of tenancy type.

The full wording of the guidance can be read on the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP) website here.

Under the new requirement landlords will have to have fixed wiring (Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) checks carried out at least every five years. This will apply from the following dates: –

  • 1st December 2015 – for any new tenancies entered into on or after this date (this includes current tenants signing a new lease)
  • 1st December 2016 – for existing tenancies

The EICR report must include an appliance check report (a Portable Appliance Test or PAT). PAT checks are required on appliances provided by the landlord, but not those belonging to the tenant. Everything in the property which uses the electrical supply must be on either EICR or PAT, unless it belongs to tenant.

It is advisable to have the checks carried out more frequently than five yearly if recommended by an electrician. Chapmans policy is to have the PAT carried out annually until further notice.

It is a requirement that landlords ensure that the electricians they use are competent. Electricians should be a member of SELECT or NICEIC or be able to complete the checklist in Annex A of the guidance.

Enforcement of the electrical testing requirements are the responsibility of the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP). The PRHP can issue a “Repairing Standard Enforcement Order” and ultimately a rent penalty for non-compliance, which is a criminal offence.

The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has been working closely with the government officials drafting the guidance. SAL has been successful in ensuring that it allows, among other items: –

  • for PAT testing to be carried out by a landlord/letting agent provided they have undergone relevant training, such as that provided by Landlord Accreditation Scotland. (see Annex C for details)
  • the PAT check to be carried out at a different time to the EICR check, provided both are carried out at least every 5 years;
  • for landlords to be required to take only reasonable steps to ensure that electrical items in common areas (such as stairwells, or electrical gates on an underground car park) are safe; PAT checks are required on appliances in common areas in shared properties such as HMO kitchens or hallways.
  • for EICR checks carried out on or after 1st January 2012 by a competent electrician to be acceptable, even if they do not include an appliance check. For example, an EICR carried out on 30th November 2015 without PAT checks would still be valid for up to 5 years, to end November 2020;
  • new build/newly rewired properties to meet the standard provided an in-date electrical installation certificate is in build/newly rewired properties to meet the standard provided an in-date electrical installation certificate is in place.
  • a clear checklist to be completed by an electrician to demonstrate competence in cases where they are not a member of SELECT or NICEIC

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