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.