Electrical safety standards in the private rental sector
Proposed mandated electrical testing
Landlords should note that the current situation in England, where there is currently no mandatory requirement for electrical checks in private rented property is likely to change. Requirements already exist in Scotland, Wales is considering them.
The background, as the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG ) report explains, is that tenants in the private rental sector (PRS) face a higher risk of incidents from electrical faults in their homes compared to tenants in social housing.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Working Group report recommends that enabling powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 should be used to set electrical safety standards. A working group set up by Government has made eight recommendations:
- 1. Five yearly mandatory electrical installation checks should be set out in secondary legislation.
- 2. Visual checks of the safety of the electrical installation by landlords at a change of tenancy should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.
- 3. A report should be issued to the landlord which confirms that an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) has been completed along with confirmation that any remedial work necessary has been undertaken satisfactorily. A copy should be issued to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy and should be made available to local authorities on request.
- 4. Landlord supplied electrical appliance testing and visual checks of electrical appliances by landlords at a change of tenancy should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.
- 5. The installation of Residual Current Devices (RCDs) by landlords should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.
- 6. A PRS electrical testing competent person scheme should be set up which would be separate from the existing Building Regulations competent person scheme.
- 7. DCLG should commission the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) management committee to consider the most effective method of assessing 'competent PRS testers' to carry out electrical inspections and tests.
- 8. Legislative requirements should be phased in, beginning with new tenancies, followed by all existing tenancies.
The recommendations have been made to the Housing Minister, who will ultimately make the decision on whether they are carried forward. There has been no indication yet as to a timeline. A consolation is being run until 16 April 2018. 50plus has provided input to the consultation.
For more information on maintenance and testing for rental properties, please contact us on 0845 22 50 495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org