Law News

Seaward Electronic Call for Mandatory Electrical Appliance Testing by Landlords

Em Morley - April 26, 2019

Landlords may see tough new rules enforced to keep private tenants safe, as part of a campaign by UK electrical safety testing expert Seaward Electronic.

This campaign was also backed by Easington MP Grahame Morris. The MP has sponsored an Early Day Motion that calls for this topic to be discussed in parliament.

Policy makers have been urged to change the law to require landlords to carry out regular electrical testing in their rental properties.

MP Grahame Morris said: “Seaward’s successful campaign, which has been instrumental in changing Government policy, will help to save lives – as well as save families the hardship and pain caused by domestic fires.”

However, Morris believes that there is still further to go for the Government to ensure the legislation is implemented as quickly as possible.

Seaward Electronic also believes that the rules need to be taken further so as to include portable electrical appliances as well as fixed installations.

Various measures have been announced by Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP that should bring England’s policy in line with Scotland’s.

  • Landlords will be required to undertake five-year safety checks
  • New guidance will be published to set out minimum levels of competency and qualifications for inspectors

Andrew Upton, Managing Director of Seaward, said: “The new rules are an encouraging step in the right direction and I’m pleased the Government is taking the safety of tenants seriously.

“However, it’s disappointing to see that electrical appliances aren’t included in the legislation this time – and we will continue campaigning to ensure this happens.  

“I am also keen to see the outcome of the social housing green paper consultation and hope to see similar rules introduced for those tenants.”

He went on to explain that quick and simple measures, such as portable appliance testing (PAT) can highlight a problem that tenants or landlords may not be aware of. For example, it could bring attention to simple wear and tear and appliances that don’t meet UK safety standards.

According to Government statistics for 2017-18, faulty electrical appliances were the second largest cause of fires in the UK. However, despite this data, there are no legal requirements in place for landlords to regularly test portable electrical appliances included in rental properties.

Grahame Morris added: “I welcome the Minister’s announcement; however, we need a clear commitment on when the new legislation will be brought forward and assurances that any phasing of new electrical safety standards will not be prolonged and leave vulnerable families in dangerous sub-standard housing.

“The Government should adopt a standard that all homes should be safe homes and while I welcome the introduction of electrical safety checks within the private rented sector, the same standard should also cover social housing.

“I will be asking Ministers these questions in the weeks ahead, but today we should acknowledge the achievement of the electrical safety campaign run by Seaward.”