Government Announce Mandatory Electrical Safety Checks

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced yesterday (29th January 2019) that mandatory five-year electrical installation checks on private rental properties in England will be introduced in a phased approach. The government will also introduce new guidance which sets out the minimum level of competence and qualifications necessary for those carrying out these checks. Failure to adhere to these standards will result in a financial penalty.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler MP says: “We need to do more to protect tenants. These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes. It will also provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks. The new guidance will provide clear accountability at each stage of the inspection process – of what is required and whose responsibility it is – but without placing excessive cost and time burdens on landlords.”

The new legislation has been brought in a as a result of a consultation - Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector - which ran from February 17 to April 16 last year, and received 582 responses from a range of organisations, including landlord associations, housing charities and local authorities, as well as many individuals including electricians, landlords, tenants and fire and rescue representatives.

The government advised last July that there would be the introduction of new legislation to ensure that private sector landlords undertake five yearly safety checks of electrical installations in their properties. An exact date has still yet to be confirmed but in yesterday’s announcement, MHCLG advised that they intend to introduce new legislation on a phased basis, starting with new tenancies, as soon as Parliamentary time allows. Letting agents and landlords will be given at least six months to familiarise with the new legislation before it comes into force.

A transitional period will apply for two years, with the new regulations only affecting all new private tenancies in the first year and in year two all existing tenancies will need a valid electrical installation condition report (EICR). Properties that already have an EICR will not need to replace it until five years have passed since it was issued.

We will continue to provide guidance and update on the introduction date once this has been confirmed. 

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