Progress has been made in order to improve the standards of electrical safety in the private rented sector (PRS). The Government has now agreed to back the idea of introducing mandatory electrical installation inspection requirements for landlords in England. These will occur every five years.
The hope is that, by bringing in this change, it will provide protection for tenants by reducing the risk of fires caused by electrical faults.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced this plan last week. The launch of a separate consultation on building regulations, following Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, was also announced. This consultation will close on 11th October 2018.
James Brokenshire commented: “There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their own homes.
“That is why I am announcing a package of measures focused on improving building safety, having listened carefully to the concerns which have been raised.
“Dame Judith’s report sets out the right framework to improve safety, but I will not hesitate to go further than the recommendations where I deem it necessary.
“That is why I am going further than my original commitment to simply clarify the guidelines, by commencing an end-to-end technical review of the fire safety aspects of building regulations in the autumn.”
Electrical Safety First, a charity working to raise awareness of electrical safety, was happy to hear this news. Phil Buckle, director general of Electrical Safety First, said: “We are delighted the government has finally recognised the importance of regular electrical checks in the PRS, which protects both tenants and landlords.
“Electrical Safety First has led the charge for this to be made a legal requirement for UK homes and successfully lobbied for these to be introduced in the PRS in Scotland – with Wales and Northern Ireland set to follow suit. And our campaign for the introduction of these checks has been supported by 71% of MPs from all parties.
“The recent Hackitt Review has left no doubt that regular electrical checks are an essential – not just in the PRS but also in the social housing sector. And particularly in high-rise blocks, whatever the tenure.
“It is time private renters in England enjoy the same level of protection as elsewhere in the UK.”
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out research for Electrical Safety First, with conclusions indicating that electrical fires in PRS homes are expected to increase by as much as 17% by 2025.
If you would like to do more as a landlord to ensure your properties stay safe for your tenants, register for free to take a look at Landlord News’ fire safety fact sheet.