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Stricter rules revealed for mandatory electrical checks on rental properties

New rules are to be introduced to ensure mandatory electrical inspections on private rental properties are carried out by competent and qualified inspectors.

The government is also to publish new guidance which sets out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out these important inspections, meaning - says government - that both landlords and tenants can be assured their home is safe from electrical faults.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler MP says: “We need to do more to protect tenants. These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes. It will also provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks.

“The new guidance will provide clear accountability at each stage of the inspection process – of what is required and whose responsibility it is – but without placing excessive cost and time burdens on landlords.”

The new measure emerges from a consultation - Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector - which ran from February 17 to April 16 last year, and received 582 responses from a range of organisations, including landlord associations, housing charities and local authorities, as well as individuals including electricians, landlords, tenants and fire and rescue representatives.

Following the consultation, the government announced in July 2018 that regulations would be introduced requiring private sector landlords to undertake five yearly safety checks of electrical installations in their properties. 

“We intend to introduce new legislation on a phased basis, starting with new tenancies, as soon as Parliamentary time allows” the government now says.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government says penalties for non-compliance are likely to include a range of sanctions, with local authorities being given discretion to decide which is most appropriate in a particular case. 

The measures cover only the private rented sector - safety and other issues in the social sector will be dealt with in an upcoming Green Paper, says the MHCLG.

  • jeremy clarke

    Generally we see more safety issues in the homes of first time landlords when they come to us to let for the first Tim. Why not enforce across the board and include all homeowners? A simple gas and electric check every year to be lodged and available at point of sale, enforced by a financial penalty if neglected.

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    Can you imagine the uproar if homeowners had to follow the same rules as landlords?!

     
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    We can sell a house knowing that it needs re-wiring and that the gas hasn’t been checked for 30 years+ to an unsuspecting buyer but can’t let it to a tenant. How can that make any sense at all? It’s as if tenants are more important than buyers, oh sorry I forgot, they are!

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    After being in the lettings industry for many years now I would say that this is a good thing for tenants.

    It's not that they're more important than buyers at all.

    I have witnessed many landlords that will try and cut corners with their investment properties and bring in a "handy man" to do the wiring instead of a qualified professional. On the back of this I have seen a few properties literally go up in smoke because of this.

    Home owners will tend to be more in the mind set, especially with children, to always bring in a professional, I would think.....

    The government is making it harder and harder for landlords but on a whole anything to do with safety can only be a good thing.

     
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    If you have a good tenant the property never needs inspecting beyond spotting new equipment a tenant has bought in. We need a just to be sure of course- say five yearly and when tenants change. If a tenant does something that causes gas and electricity problems it this is unlikely to happen the day before an inspection so inspections are never going to be the complete answer.

    Broadly, inspections need to match the rate of damage. This can range from every thirty years to every week. It depends on who is living there. If very frequent inspections are needed it is going to be more cost effective to issue a section 21.

    Electrical safety is divided into three classes. Stage one is just inspection by someone with half a brain who can look for breakages and damaged cables. You do then need a competent person to do to do the fixing or take the offending item out of the property to make sure it is not bought back into use. Last time I looked at the regulations this was a valid plan of action. All that is need is a sign of on and inspction sheet.

    Next is PAT testing. Again this is not difficult but if something does fail then a qualified electrician will be needed or the tester can take the equipment out of the property to stop it being used.

    The final stage is a real electrician testing everything. This does need a qualified person but in my experience it is very rare to find a really dangerous fault because the installation should have been installed and tested properly when it was new. After that installations do not fail if they are not damaged or overloaded in some illegal way. This is expensive and does not want doing once a year. In any case a lowely PAT tester should/ must be able to spot a damaged system such as by overloading.

    I have noted recently that people are starting to class any thing without a PAT label as dangerous. This is rubbish of course and the person screaming, "It's dangerous", is pretty suspect as well. Equally something can be dangerous even if it has a PAT tag. It is all a case of risk analysis and likelihoods. If you want to have 101% certainty then you need a team of electricians to watch over a property/device 24 hours a day for ever.

    This will hurt but I think is way beyond time for agents to offer properly skilled inspections for gas, water and electricity. I am not including repairs in this statement. Dodging the issue by saying we are not qualified adds quite a bit of cost to letting. It has cost me a small fortune with water. My agent never spotted a massive leak from a broken shower hose because they never turned the shower on. As for the tenant /////!!


    (I have electrical test certificates)

    S l
    • S l
    • 30 January 2019 11:08 AM

    good point fred. anyway our local council already insist on a 5 yearly electrical check by niceic or similar qualifying board. this cost a whopping 180 onwards and if fail first test, another 180 to retest on top of extras to rectify the fault. its a complete rip off by some electrician to charge extra for retest when they rectify the fault.

    dont let paul robinson catch your statement or he might point out you need to go back to school and learn the queens english bla bla bla with spelling etc etc

     
  • S l
    • S l
    • 30 January 2019 11:00 AM

    it seems that those politicians still no clue what actually goes on in prs. this 5 yearly check by qualified electrician are already implemented by the local council on all private rented sector. so another attempt to look good and get vote which only serve to increase rents and how this help tenants again?

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    Glad you saw my comments. However, Queens English requires a capital letter at the beginning of each word. Still need to go back to school S I.

    I agree it looks as though someone is trying to look good but how sad that politicians are the only group of people with no discernible ability who can make a decent living at what they do. Wait a minute S I maybe you should be included in this group as well.

     
  • S l
    • S l
    • 30 January 2019 20:03 PM

    not really. cant be bothered with caps. sorry mate, not out to please everyone. you just got to accept that.

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    The country has gone to the dogs.

     
  • S l
    • S l
    • 30 January 2019 20:34 PM

    get a life paul

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