What landlords need to know about the new electrical safety laws

The Government has announced new measures to ensure mandatory electrical inspections are carried out by competent and qualified inspectors.

The Government says this is part of their ‘commitment to drive up standards in the private rented sector, landlords will be legally required to ensure that the inspectors they hire to carry out safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so – with tough financial penalties for those who fail to comply.’

Ministers have already announced that they intend to introduce legislation requiring landlords to carry out additional electrical checks. Now it’s taking things a step further by insisting that these checks are completed by ‘competent and qualified’ workmen.

What electrical qualifications will be required?

The Government is yet to publish further details on this and what these competent and qualified inspectors actually look like has yet to be decided. What’s known is that the workmen will be required to carry out the tests in line with existing British Standards (known as BS7671), which cover the safety of electrical installations. The Government insists the requirements won’t place ‘excessive cost and time burdens on landlords’.

Electrical checks every five years

Last July, the Government announced that regulations would be introduced requiring landlords to undertake safety checks of their ‘electrical installations’ every five years.

The Government has defined these ‘electrical installations’ as ‘the installations within a dwelling used for the supply of electricity’, and cites ‘consumer units’ rather than individual electrical items such as kettles as an example.

It says the new regulations requiring landlords to have electrical installations in privately rented homes checked every five years will be brought in ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’.

Starting with new tenancies, it intends to introduce the new requirements on a phased basis.

Supporting tenants to feel safe

The Government says the measures build on action to drive up standards in the private rented sector, helping people to feel safe at home.

Ministers have also introduced new powers for councils to tackle any rogue landlords renting out poor quality properties, including fines of up to £30,000 and banning orders for landlords who do not comply.

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