Housing Ministry tightens electrical safety rules for Landlords

Housing Ministry tightens electrical safety rules for Landlords

16:47 PM, 29th January 2019, About 3 years ago 21

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The government has committed to introduce mandatory five yearly electrical safety checks fir the PRS and Landlords will be legally required to ensure that the inspectors they hire to carry out safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so with tough financial penalties for those who fail to comply.

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government press release goes on to say:

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP has announced that tenants will receive greater protection from new measures designed to ensure mandatory electrical inspections are carried out by competent and qualified inspectors.

Ministers will also publish new guidance which sets out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out these important inspections, meaning both landlords and tenants can be assured their home is safe from electrical faults.

Heather Wheeler MP said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home. While measures are already in place to crack down on the small minority of landlords who rent out unsafe properties, we need to do more to protect tenants.

“These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes.

“It will also provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks.”

The new guidance will provide clear accountability at each stage of the inspection process of what is required and whose responsibility it is, but without placing excessive cost and time burdens on landlords.

As well as making homes safer for tenants, improving electrical safety also benefits landlords by making a material improvement to their property and helping to prevent fires, which can cause costly and significant damage.

The measures announced today build on ongoing government action to drive up standards in the private rented sector and support people to feel safe and secure in their home ensuring millions of hard working tenants can live in the homes they deserve.

Ministers have also introduced tough new powers for councils to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who rent out poor quality properties, including fines of up to £30,000 and banning orders for landlords who do not comply.

The Tenant Fees Bill, which will be implemented from 1 June, will bring an end to unnecessary, costly fees imposed by landlords or property agents – stopping tenants being charged hundreds of pounds for minor fixes to their homes and putting cash back in their pockets.

Together, these measures will help to create a housing market that works for everyone by making renting fair and more transparent for all.

Further information

The consultation Electrical safety in the private rented sector ran from 17 February to 16 April 2018 and received 582 responses from a range of organisations, including landlord associations, housing charities and local authorities, as well as individuals including electricians, landlords, tenants and fire and rescue representatives.

Following the consultation, the government announced in July that regulations would be introduced requiring private sector landlords to undertake 5 yearly safety checks of electrical installations in their properties. We intend to introduce new legislation on a phased basis, starting with new tenancies, as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

The new guidance will be broadly in line with existing regulations in Scotland, helping to ensure consistency and ease for landlords operating across the two nations.

A decision on penalties for non-compliance will be made before the secondary legislation is introduced. Penalties are likely to include a range of sanctions, with local authorities being given discretion to decide which is most appropriate in a particular case. Government will engage closely with local authorities in England when determining the penalties.

The measures announced today only cover the private rented sector. The forthcoming response to the social housing green paper consultation will cover a wide range of issues including the safety and quality of social housing.


Neil Patterson View Profile

8:57 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

ARLA have issued the following clarification >> http://www.arla.co.uk/news/january-2019/government-announce-mandatory-electrical-safety-checks/

"(MHCLG) has announced that mandatory five-year electrical installation checks on private rented housing in England will be introduced in a phased approach. "

"MHCLG has stated its intention to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows, with letting agents and landlords being given at least six months to familiarise with the new legislation before it comes into force.

A transitional period will apply for two years. In year one, all new private tenancies will be affected and in year two all existing tenancies will come within scope.

Properties that already have a valid electrical installation condition report (EICR) will not need to replace it until five years have passed since it was issued.

We will update members as soon as Government guidance is published."

Neil Patterson View Profile

9:03 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

Currently Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 obliges landlords of residential lettings to keep electrical installations in good repair and proper working order and a landlord may also be liable for the injury of a tenant or resident caused by defective wiring under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

Peter G View Profile

9:09 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

And will the government require tenants to perform 5-yearly checks at their own expense on the electrical equipment they bring into the property? No - thought not - so there is still a fire hazard.

James Barnes

9:19 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Peter G at 30/01/2019 - 09:09
The same would be true of any household, how many owner occupiers do you think have their own electricals PAT tested?
I think the point is here that if you rent your home you should reasonably be able to expect the electrics are safe.


9:40 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

Another nail in the coffin for BTL. Pile on the costs and rents will ????.
Answers on a postcard please.

Dylan Morris

10:17 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

IMO five year electrical safety tests are a very good idea. The agent I use insists that where there is a change of tenant an electrical test is carried out each time. So it’s something I’ve been doing already and costs me £75.

The only concern I have is if these tests require a property to be brought up to current standards. For example if a fuse box is say 10 years old and absolutely fine, but not compliant with new installation regulations then this could be a big problem if we are expected to have a new fuse board fitted. In theory we could be forced to keep upgrading to current regs which will cost landlords a fortune. So long as it’s just a safety test then I’m fine with it. And obviously a qualified electrician needs to do it.

I’m sure most Property 118 readers keep their properties in good order electrical wise, but there are a lot of landlords who don’t.

Monty Bodkin

10:32 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by James Barnes at 30/01/2019 - 09:19
I think the point is here that if you rent your home you should reasonably be able to expect the electrics are safe.

By the same argument, if you rent your home you should reasonably be able to expect the building foundations are safe. Should landlords have to provide a 'safe foundations' certificate? A 'safe from flooding' certificate? A 'safe from meteor strike' certificate? Where do you draw the line?

I think there may well be a good case for electrical certification but it needs to be hard evidence based and I have yet to see any compelling argument for it.

(For the record, I do 5 year electrical installation checks already)

Annie Landlord

11:41 AM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

I have just completed my second round of tests, so the first ones were done 5 years ago. At that time two properties cost me around £2000 each to bring up to standard. (There was certainly no visual evidence of anything being wrong) The ones completed last week have fortunately sailed through, but with a C3 comment that they have plastic consumer units, which were acceptable at the time of installation. I fully agree with electrical safety tests (and the SRS should be included!) but it could be a very costly process if a decision is made that the installation must comply with 'current' standards. Last year it cost several hundred pounds to swap a plastic consumer unit for a new metal one.

Rob Crawford

12:38 PM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 30/01/2019 - 11:41
There is no current legal requirement to replace a serviceable plastic consumer unit with a metal one, now required for any new installation. However, if you are considering an upgrade then doing it at the same time as the fixed installation test is a good idea and will be cheaper than doing it at a later / earlier date.

Rob Crawford

12:39 PM, 30th January 2019, About 3 years ago

Are there enough qualified electricians to do this? I can see electrician prices increasing!

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