ARLA propertymark reminds us that the Commencement Order in Sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (electrical safety standards) came into force on 25 October 2019. This means that mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector in England regulations will be implemented very soon.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016, under Section 122, contains an enabling power to allow the Secretary of State, through regulations, to impose duties on private landlords ensuring that electrical safety standards are met.
The frequency of checks and the qualifications for those electricians carrying them out, as well as penalties for breaches and an appeals process, are all likely to be specified soon.
However, with a general election now in progress it is likely to be the New Year before action is taken.
A working group of interested parties, including ARLA Propertymark, other industry representatives and landlord bodies, electrical and tenant bodies, have provided recommendations to government on the proposed requirements for electrical safety in the private rented sector (PRS).
Here is a summary of the Electrical Safety Working Group recommendations provided by ARLA Propertymark:
Recommendation 1: Five 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 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 Residual Current Devices (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: DCLG 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 anticipated that the eventual regulations will follow closely these recommendations, so all PRS landlords should consider these and make plans to comply as soon as possible.