Tougher electrical safety standards to protect private tenants

The introduction of tougher electrical safety standards for rented properties has been put forward for public consultation by Housing Minister Heather Wheeler.

The move comes after recent data revealed that tenants in the private housing sector were at a higher risk of electrical shocks and fires caused by electrical faults than those in social housing.

The government wants to toughen safety enforcement laws to bring all rented housing up to the required standards.

Ms Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a safe place to live. While measures are already in place to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe properties we need to do more to protect tenants.

“That’s why we introduced powers to enable stronger electrical safety standards to be brought in along with tough penalties for those who don’t comply. We want to ensure we strike the right balance between protecting tenants while being fair for landlords.”

The recommendations for consultation include:

  • 5-yearly mandatory electrical installation safety checks for all private rented properties
  • mandatory safety certificates confirming installation checks have been completed along with any necessary repair work provided to both landlord and tenants at the beginning of the tenancy and made available to the local authority on request
  • a private rented sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be established to ensure properly trained experts undertake this work.

The government is also consulting on how best to enforce the strengthened safety regime, and whether landlords who do not comply should face penalties of up to £30,000.

We will keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of commercial property law.

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