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Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector

A Government working group, set up to examine electrical safety in the private rented sector (PRS), has now published its report, recommending that five – yearly mandatory electrical installation checks be introduced.

Below is some useful information for both tenants and landlords, from our Managing Director, Andrew McCausland:-

The PRS Electrical Safety Working Group was set up by the Department for Communities & Local Government following the passing of the Housing & Planning Act 2016, which granted the Government powers to regulate electrical safety standards in the sector.

As part of the working group, the National Landlords Association (NLA) was keen to ensure that any recommendations made struck the right balance between protecting tenants from dangerous hazards and not burdening landlords with over-zealous and costly regulatory hurdles.

Many of the recommendations conform to what the NLA advises our members to do as best practice.

The report makes 8 recommendations:

1. 5 yearly mandatory electrical installation checks should be set out in regulations.

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 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’s scheme should be set up which would be separate from existing Building Regulations competent person’s scheme.

7. DCLG should commission the Electro-technical Assessment Specification (EAS) management committee to consider the most effective method of recognising ‘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, Alok Sharma, who will ultimately decide if they are taken forward. There has been no indication yet as to any timeline to do so.

At Hamilton Square Estates we already ask our landlords to ensure they test the electrical supply every 5 years and carry out the other checks recommended as best practice.

We will keep all our landlords and tenants up to date as the debate evolves.