Mandatory electrical checks Central Housing Group

Mandatory electrical checks welcomed by senior lettings agency chief

One of the lettings industry’s senior figures has welcomed the introduction of five yearly mandatory electrical checks in private rental sector properties.

Lisa Simon, head of lettings at Carter Jonas – and a critic of some policies aimed at the private rental sector – says: “We’ve certainly witnessed many reforms to the PRS over the last few years. However any regulations that place electrical safety at the front and centre can only be seen as a positive.”

No date has been set for the implementation of the mandatory checks but Simon says landlords should be open to introducing such checks as soon as possible.

Last month the Housing Secretary James Brokenshire, announced the measure in the wake of recommendations from a government working group looking at electrical safety in the sector.

The working group was established after MPs and Peers from all parties, and supported by tenant representative and electrical safety lobby groups, recognised the fact that safety features in the private rental sector lag behind those of the social rented sector.

In 2014 – the most recent figures available – some 72 per cent of local authority homes and 77 per cent of housing association homes had all five recommended electrical safety features installed, compared with only 59 per cent in the private rental sector.

In November last year the government working group, having considered a variety of non-legislative options, concluded that the use of robust regulatory measures should be introduced to ensure necessary improvements in the private sector.

The introduction of an Electrical Installation Condition Report would confirm that the electrical installation is satisfactory for continued use and detail any remedial works required, with corrective work to be funded by the landlord.

On completion, a confirmation certificate should be issued to the landlord, and the tenant provided with a copy. The certificate should also be made available to local authorities.

The working group suggested that this would provide clarity for landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities.

It was estimated that a normal inspection and test would take around four hours with an average cost of £250, taking account of local variances in the costs of an electrician’s time.

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