Residential Property Management & Electrical Safety
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy Government minds are more focussed than ever on safety matters in the private rented sector. The Housing & Planning Act 2016 gives the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government the power to make regulations imposing duties on Landlords. One of the topics under scrutiny right now is electrical safety during the period when premises are occupied under a tenancy.
There are existing requirements, for example under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the landlord must keep installations in the property in good working order.
Five yearly inspections are already mandatory for HMO’s & Local authorities can act if there are electrical hazards in a property using their powers under the Housing Act 2004.
There is guidance in the RICS PRS code of practice 4 that advises landlords to have 5 yearly periodic inspections and testing of the fixed wiring by a competent electrician as well as visually checking for faults at each change of tenancy. Industry bodies such as Electrical Safety First also advise checks every 5 years should be undertaken.
All the working group members agreed that there is a need to use the enabling power in the Housing and Planning Act and introduce regulations for mandatory electrical installation checks in private rented properties.
The working group has made eight recommendations as follows: –
Recommendation 1: 5 yearly mandatory electrical installation checks should be set out in secondary legislation.
Recommendation 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.
Recommendation 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.
Recommendation 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.
Recommendation 5: The installation of RCDs by landlords should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.
Recommendation 6: A private rented sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be set up which would be separate from existing Building Regulations competent person’s scheme.
Recommendation 7: MHCLG should commission the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) management committee to consider the most effective method of recognising ‘competent PRS testers’ to carry out electrical inspections and tests.
Recommendation 8: Legislative requirements should be phased in, beginning with new tenancies, followed by all existing tenancies.
It is estimated that the cost for a safety check will be around £160 per property every five years. In our experience, most landlords will be working to best practices anyway and it is only those not currently having checks by a competent person that this will affect.
The working group is mindful of costs to landlord and agreed that they think it would be too onerous to make landlords have checks done at a change of tenancy.
We support this as we believe it is important for Tenants Safety and the protection of property from a landlord’s perspective too.
Don’t forget, there is a consultation period 17th February 2018 to 16th April 2018. If you have any comments you are urged to contact
Email: [email protected]