“Clock is ticking” for electrical safety checks in the private rented sector

In Industry Comment, Industry News On
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Leading safety charity Electrical Safety First is reminding England’s private landlords of their new obligations around electrical safety in their properties.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, require private landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested – by a qualified electrician – every five years. Landlords that fail to comply, or to undertake necessary repairs, could face fines of up to £30,000. Landlords will also have to provide a copy of the EICR to tenants and, if requested, to the local authority.

The regulations officially came into force on 1st June 2020. But it is only at the beginning of this April that they will apply to existing tenancies. (They were applied to new tenancies from the 1st of July, last year).

Electrical Safety First has led the charge, throughout the UK, for mandatory, five yearly, electrical checks in the private rented sector (PRS). These became a legal requirement in Scotland in 2015 and in England from June 2020. The Welsh government has committed to introducing these checks in both the private and social rented sectors simultaneously.

England’s new PRS regulations come some years after the 2008 electrocution of Thirza Whittall, a mother who was killed by an unidentified electrical fault when running a bath. An inquest heard the PRS property had not been checked since 1981. A prevention of future deaths report – and call for regular electrical checks in PRS properties – was also issued by a coroner in 2019, following the death of Professor John Alliston. The Professor was electrocuted by a faulty cable, in the garden of a privately rented property.

“Good PRS landlords have always undertaken regular electrical checks”, explains Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First. “But making these checks a legal requirement, with a significant penalty if landlords fail to comply, brings clarity and reduces electrical risk for people and property. And, of course, it is essential that these mandatory electrical checks are undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent person – a point we continue to highlight in all our campaigns.”

The Charity’s website also provide consumers with a simple way to find a local, qualified electrician, registered with one of the Government approved schemes. For more information, click here or visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/find-an-electrician/

For industry-recognised  information on electrical installation condition reporting, see Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide no 4, available as a free download from the website, or click here.

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