Progress Made on Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector via Housing and Planning Act
The NAPIT Trade Association has welcomed steps taken via the Housing and Planning Act to give Government the power to “impose duties on a private landlord... [to ensure] that electrical safety standards are met”.
This clause allows the Secretary of State to set requirements for electrical safety in private rented properties through secondary legislation (such as new regulations), if deemed necessary.
Requirements to verify the electrical safety of a privately rented property are an area of uncertainty in England and Wales. Although the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity, there is currently no requirement for landlords to undertake regular electrical safety checks in the private rented sector.
Commenting on the Act, Chairman of the Trade Association Frank Bertie said: "With research undertaken in 2014 showing 16% of private rented sector tenants in England experience problems with electrical hazards and DGLG statistics showing that 12% of accidental fires last year were caused by electrical distribution systems, resulting in 419 casualties and 18 fatalities, electrical safety remains an area of serious concern. It is therefore welcome news for all concerned that the Government are looking to provide clarification on this crucial issue.
"We have long campaigned for Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) to be required at least every 5 years, carried out by a competent, registered electrician with experience in inspecting and testing, and supported by a visual electrical checklist. In the past year, we’ve worked with the Electrical Safety Roundtable to provide an easy to use checklist and supporting guidance to encourage this.
"Scotland is leading the way in this area and The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 already requires an EICR to be carried out at least every 5 years by a competent person in all privately rented homes. We are hopeful that the English Government will follow suit."
To find out more about the NAPIT Trade Association, visit: www.napit.org.uk/trade-association/trade-association.aspx
To access the Electrical Safety Roundtable’s checklist and supporting guidance, head to: www.homesafetyguidance.co.uk/download
24 May 2016