Mandatory Electrical Safety Checks In Limbo
The Government is yet to set a start date for mandatory electrical safety checks in the rental sector despite committing to doing so in July 2018.
Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick tabled a parliamentary question asking when the checks would come for landlords, but housing minister Esther McVey has revealed there is still no start date in mind.
She said: “In July 2018, the Government committed to introducing mandatory five-yearly electrical safety inspections for electrical installations in privately rented properties.
“This will be achieved through secondary legislation, subject to parliamentary time.
“In the meantime, it remains best practice for landlords to ensure that the electrics in their properties are safe.”
It comes as a new Queen’s Speech will set out the Government’s legislative agenda on Monday, which will kick off a new parliamentary session.
There are still plenty of regulations that compel landlords to ensure the properties they let are safe such as the Defective Premises Act and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, told EYE: “The first duty of any landlord is to ensure the properties they rent out are safe.
“It is essential that the electrics and associated installations in homes are in good working order, and we would advise landlords to make use of safety appliances such as residual current devices.
“The law already gives ministers the powers to require five-yearly electrical safety checks in private rented property.
“All that is required is for the regulations allowing this to be approved by Parliament.
“The RLA argues that this should happen swiftly to provide much greater clarity for the sector on what is expected of it. Remaining in a state of limbo helps nobody.
“We are also calling for clear guidance for landlords as to how they should make sure the electrics in the properties they rent out are safe.”
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “We agree that it is best practice for landlords to ensure that electrical safety checks are carried out regularly in their properties and to get into the habit of doing so before legislation comes in.
“The Homes Fit for Human Habitation Act 2018 require landlords to ensure that homes are safe, healthy and free from things that cause serious harm, and Government guidance for tenants includes electrical safety within that.”
Robert Jervis-Gibbons, public affairs manager at campaign group Electrical Safety First, said: “Electrical Safety First is extremely concerned that the Government has not yet provided a timescale to implement mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector (PRS), particularly since it announced its intention of doing so last year.
“Regular electrical checks in the PRS were, in fact, incorporated into the 2016 Housing and Planning Act.
“But three years on and we are still waiting for Government to announce a date for this to be introduced.
“This has become a critical issue that needs to be addressed, particularly in response to the tragic fires at Grenfell and Lakenal House, which appear to have been caused by electrical products.
“Electricity causes almost half of all fires in UK homes, so it is time electrical safety is put on a par with that of gas – as PRS landlords have been required to make an annual gas safety check since the 1990s.”