The Electrical Safety Dance

On 1 June 2020, we noted here that The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 had a bit of a quirk. The regulations applied to all ‘new specified tenancies’ from 1 July 2020. But a ‘new specified tenancy’ is defined as a tenancy that starts on or after the date the Regs are in force. The Regs are were in force on 1 June 2020. So, we concluded, the regs would apply from 1 July 2020 to all new tenancies starting on or after 1 June 2020.

MHLCG’s previous guidance stated the regs would apply to all new tenancies from 1 July 2020. On 18 June 2020, MHCLG released revised guidance which apparently, although not consistently, stated that the regs would apply from 1 July 2020 to all new tenancies from 1 June 2020. Which is what the regs actually say. However, some parts of the guidance still said new tenancies from 1 July 2020.

This caused a fuss with ARLA. So today, 19 June 2020, MHCLG withdrew the revised guidance and reinstated the original guidance, stating:

We’re grateful to our stakeholders for engaging with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and for their help preparing the guidance to these important regulations.We endeavour to make our guidance as useful and as clear as possible. Unfortunately, this was not the case with the recent update so we have reverted these changes and will carefully review the guidance. As before, we’ll work closely with our stakeholders as we ensure this guidance is up to date and useable.

Being clear and consistent is very important, but the re-instated guidance would appear to be wrong on which tenancies will be caught on 1 July 2020. And ARLA appear to think it is all new tenancies from 1 July 2020, but that is not what the Regulations provide.



Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Ian Narbeth

    If MHLCG wants to give clear instructions/guidance, they only need to write clear English and that will be that. People with a modicum of education will understand what they need to do. MHLCG don’t need to “work closely with our stakeholders”. We are not stakeholders. We are subjects in the eyes of the law and liable to be punished for breaching the safety standards. MHLCG could have avoided all the fuss by having the same start date, 1 June or 1 July, it really matters not. Instead they now have an awful mess where the “clarification” has muddied the picture and stated the law incorrectly. Let us hope that not too many landlords are punished for not working this nonsense out. It is just about OK for lawyers such as Giles and I to wade through this legal treacle but heaven help the lay client.

  2. Peter Williams

    I have seen occasions before where civil servants wish that their regulations had said something different, and attempt to resolve the point within guidance – which therefore doesn’t reflect what the regulations say but what the authors intended them to say. Perhaps this is another example.

  3. Allyson Talbot

    Reading the guidance online today (23/6/2020) I see that the guidance for landlords says the following:

    “3. Which rented properties do the Electrical Safety Regulations apply to?
    The Regulations apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2020.”

    To existing tenancies from 1/4/2020? Really? This looks like another mix up with the dates.



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