The government has been slammed for its double standards by compelling private landlords to carry out electrical safety checks in high-rise blocks every five years, while social landlords don’t face the same obligations.

Lord Foster of Bath attacked the current inequality during a debate on the Building Safety Bill, which is set to receive Royal Assent soon.

He told the House of Lords the disparity was strange because the government wanted equality between social and private landlords.

He told peers: “The social housing charter states unequivocally, ‘Safety measures in the social sector should be in line with the legal protections afforded to private sector tenants.

“Responses to the social housing Green Paper showed overwhelming support for consistency in safety measures across social and private rented housing’.”

Five-year checks

Lord Bath introduced an amendment proposing mandatory five-year checks, which he said social housing landlords supported.

He added: “Some 87% of leaseholders support the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks. The same survey found that 91% of leaseholders were more concerned for their safety and that of their tenants as a result of what they saw in the tragic fire at Grenfell.”

Read more about landlords' electrical safety check obligations.
lord greenhalgh

However, Home Office Minister Lord Greenhalgh (pictured) said the amendment would add an additional objective for the building safety regulator around property protection.

He added: “I am concerned that adding additional objectives for it at this early stage in its life could distract it and hinder its success. Instead, we should include this issue in the first statutory review of how well the regulator is working.”

The government has vowed that no leaseholder living in medium or high-rise buildings will have to pay a penny for the removal of cladding, but it has repeated that only buy-to-let landlords with one other property should be included in statutory protections for leaseholders.


  1. If it’s a safety issue then surely all properties, including privately owned, should be forced to have both gas certs & elec certs.
    Makes no sence.

  2. Of Course it’s double standards just like the Licensing Schemes it only applies to some, it’s not the property that requires you to have a license but the type of person you rent to, isn’t that true.
    Minister Lord Greenhalgh has let the cat out of the bag saying it wouldn’t be successful if it applied to Social housing as well, it has to be a 2 tier system, them and us divide and conquer the usual unfairness for the one sided Policy’s to work, Congrats.

  3. Us and them……………….what’s new. I am not sleeping at night with all the expense and rules. We are pensioners with 1 rental property in Wales where rents are very low. Where the h… is the Welsh government who is about to intoduce the most draconian laws in history and of course (only in Wales) expect us to find the cash to do all this work and adhere to all these new laws? No one will give pensioners a loan against this, and we don’t want ito borrow money anyway at our time of life. We are in our 70s and 80s. Let the politicians pay out of their own massive salaries, perks and all kinds of extra money, pay themselves. They have recently had a £2000+ rise! The rest of us struggle.

  4. It goes alongside another double standard in local council housing. That prs landlords have to comply with an ever demanding EPC energy efficiency regulation whereas local council housing do not! It’s particularly unfair when leasehold prs landlords, who rent out flats on the top floor of council blocks, will fail the next hike in EPC regulation because their council will not be compelled to increase its loft insulation to the required thickness!

  5. Always makes me laugh, the biggest disaster to hit housing in the last so many years was Grenfell, which was social housing. YET, its the PRS sector that is continuously being punished, with EICRs and EPC, all whilst social housing remains exempt.

    We are told, persistently, that the government wants decent homes, but for some reason, only targets the PRS, which accounts for very little in the overall housing market, when private and social housing are added to the equation.

    Someone tell me how this is right?

    • Govt CANNOT apply the same conditions as expected of the PRS.
      Of course it SHOULD but NEVER will.

      If it did much of the social housing sector would need to be shut down while relevant repairs etc are resolved.

      Where would all the tenants go and could the repairs even be afforded?

      Govt is quite successfully forcing small LL out of business.
      This is what it wishes to occur.

      However I’m sure all the desperate tenants seeking rental accommodation would fundamentally disagree with Govt policies that effectively force small LL out of business.

      Yet this Govt strategy seems to continue with no end in sight.

      Remember what dopey Gove recently stated.

      He wanted more homeownership and believes LL are preventing this.

      When you have policies created based on this false narrative then one can see Govt has lost the plot.

      Tenants can bleat as much as they like
      It will nor encourage LL to return to the PRS.

      Tenants must expect there to be an ever reducing stock of rental property with consequent massive increase in rents.

      Many good LL are leaving the AST sector for other forms of letting.

      Such LL CAN’T be blamed for reacting this way.

      It is a matter of survival.


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