Sparking safety in the Private Rented Sector

Sparking safety in the Private Rented Sector

Government announces electrical checks for Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Responding to the announcement of the imminent introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, commented: “Today’s commitment by the Government to bring mandatory electrical safety checks into force, is a success for millions of renters and their landlords in England. It is long overdue for the dangers posed by electricity in the home to be taken as seriously as that of gas, so this legislation provides essential protection for millions. But, while we welcome this crucial step in protecting tenants, electrical safety should not be a ‘tenure lottery’. Electrical Safety First would like to see this regulation extended to the social housing sector in the very near future.”

Mr Allen goes on to say:“We have heard harrowing tales of fatal accidents caused by unsafe electrics in rented properties. This new regulation – which we believe will benefit tenants and landlords by protecting both people and property – will help ensure such tragedies don’t happen again.  Tenants will finally be able to hold landlords to account for the safety of electrics in their rented homes.  And, while most landlords already ensure their properties are safe, this new law offers clarity and helps private landlords protect their assets through regular upkeep of the electrics in their properties. But it is essential the new regulation has teeth and the enforcement body has the resources to take action effectively”.

The regulations will require regular electrical checks in the private rented sector and are thought to come into fruition on 1st June, 2020. However, it is intended that the implementation of the regulation will occur slightly later – July 2020 for new tenancies and April 2021 for existing tenancies.

Mike Smith, Technical Director of the ECA has also welcomed this new commitment to electrical safety. He added: “The dangers posed by electricity need to be taken seriously and they should be properly managed. It’s vitally important that landlords have the information they need to fully understand and carry out their new legal obligations. Testing and inspection needs to be carried out by an enterprise that’s been certificated by a reputable third party as competent to carry out these activities. ECA has long been working with its industry partners to raise safety standards in the PRS and we will now work with our members-  and the wider industry – to help ensure that the electrical safety of all PRS properties get the professional attention they need.”

The regulations will be enforced by local authorities, and the fine will be set locally. It is said the fine may be up to £30,000. The final details of the regulation will be debated in Parliament shortly.

John O’Neill, Technical Director at NICEIC & ELECSA, welcomes the checks. He said: “I am pleased that the new Government has taken action in this important area.  We look forward to working with landlords to ensure they understand the benefits of using registered electrical contractors to undertake the testing and inspections that will be vital to keep tenants safe.  We remain committed to working with industry partners and other stakeholders, to raise standards both in the PRS and across the industry generally.”

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