The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gave the UK Government powers to bring in regulation to improve electrical safety standards in the private rented sector in England.
Recent tragedies, including the devastating Grenfell Tower incident in June 2017 have in part driven administrations to urgently improve safety standards for rented properties.
As it stands, what is the legislation around electrical safety in England?
Current legislation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that landlords have a legal duty to ensure electrical installations are in good repair and proper working order.
It is also recommended that best practice is for a registered electrician to carry out electrical testing every 5 years at least. However, the latter is just a recommendation, there are currently no mandatory time limits for safety checks.
How is it set to change?
England is now looking to bring in mandatory five-yearly checks and the issuing of Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) which would include details of any remedial work needed and a copy which must be given to landlords and tenants.
The working group on electrical safety made eight recommendations, including the above and setting up an electrical testing competent person’s scheme and encouraging the installation of Residual Current Devices (RDCs) as good practice. An RDC is a life-saving device which prevents you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live.
On the whole, when gas appliances are installed correctly they are safe. However, gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning can occur. Landlords have several gas responsibilities under current legislation to ensure the safety of their tenants.
Recent research revealed more than 1/3 private landlords did not realise it was their responsibility to get gas appliances checked, with 1/7 believing it is the local councils duty. The Gas Safety Regulations 1998 outline the duties of landlords:
- Gas safety checks: every 12 months all gas appliances and flues must be checked by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.