Government to enforce new rules for landlords to carry out mandatory electrical inspections

Government to enforce new rules for landlords to carry out mandatory electrical inspections

Published on 30th January 2019

Government to enforce new rules for landlords to carry out mandatory electrical inspections

Under new rules announced by the Government, landlords must enforce mandatory electrical inspections to be carried out within private rented accommodation, by competent and fully qualified inspectors.

The new measure emerges from the Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector consultation - which ran from February to April 2018. It received 582 responses from a wide range of organisations, including landlord associations, housing charities and local authorities. Responses also came from individuals such as fire and rescue representatives, electricians, landlords and tenants.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP, says: “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 government is to publish new guidance which sets out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out these important inspections. This legislation needs to guarantee that both landlords and tenants can be assured their home is safe and protected from any electrical faults.

Existing competent person scheme operators will be invited by the Government to set up an ‘electrical inspection and testing scheme’. This engagement with industry stakeholders enables new guidance to be produced on how landlords could determine competence, where inspectors and testers will be given the option to join in the future. The new guidance and any voluntary competent person schemes will be finalised six months ahead of the new regulatory requirements coming into force.

MP Wheeler continued to state, “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”.

Regulations requiring landlords to have electrical installations in privately rented homes checked every five years will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. The regulations will be subject to the affirmative procedure and will need to be debated and approved by the Houses of Parliament before they can be brought into force. However, the government intends to introduce the new requirements on a phased basis, starting with new tenancies. The government will update the ‘How to Let’ guidance, in order to encourage landlords to carry out the new regulatory requirements when it comes into force.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government says penalties for non-compliance are likely to include a range of sanctions, with local authorities being given discretion to decide which is most appropriate in a particular case. 

The new measures only cover the private rented sector - safety and other issues in the social sector will be dealt with in an upcoming Green Paper, says the MHCLG.

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