Government to introduce mandatory five-year electrical safety checks for rental homes

The Government has backed introducing a mandatory requirement on landlords with properties in England to ensure that electrical installations in their property are inspected every five years.

However, it has not provided a start date.

Such a proposal has been recommended by several working groups of industry bodies, the most recent at the end of last year.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire yesterday announced plans for the mandatory checks to be introduced alongside the launch of a separate consultation on building regulations following a review by Dame Judith Hackitt in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire tragedy.

Brokenshire said: “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.”

Responding to the announcement, Phil Buckle, director general of charity Electrical Safety First, said: “We are delighted the Government has finally recognised the importance of regular electrical checks in the private rental sector 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.

“Our campaign for the introduction of these checks has been supported by 71% of MPs, from all parties.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fire-safety-clarification-of-statutory-guidance-approved-document-b

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24 Comments

  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    Excellent, should have been introduced long time ago.

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  2. eltell

    . . . and how many private homeowners have their property checked every 5 years?  Sledgehammer and nut spring too mind.

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  3. smile please

    I think the way things are going I am going to sell my house and become a renter.

    It’s almost like living in a 5 star hotel with concierge service!

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    1. Harry Albert Lettings Estates

      Hardly. I personally think tenants are entitled to live in a safe property. Gas, fire and electrical safety should be paramount. I’m very surprised this hasn’t come in far sooner.

       

      We support electrical safety checks. The only thing we’re against is how much it will cost. No doubt, it’ll be higher than gas safety checks.

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      1. Will

        It will be more expensive as to carry out an electrical test is more time consuming and more complex.  Adding to the rental cost is the only way of recovering these costs. There again it is split  over 5 years so annual costs may be similar to gas safety compliance?

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      2. smile please

        Harry,

        When was the last time you had an electrical safety inspection carried out on your own home?

        I can honestly say i have never had an electrical safety inspection carried out on my home other than a survey when buying it.

        To be honest i am not that bothered by the ESI but its a culmination of little things that add up to tenants having more rights than the property owners.

        And we all know how demanding (unrealistic) tenants can be.

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  4. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    ”Brokenshire said: “There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their own homes.”

     

    …whilst they still have one, as their Landlord is currently ‘selling up’ due to overregulation in the PRS.

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    1. Realitycheck97

      Exactly so.  Except not.  Some regulation is s good thing. Electrical safety should be a priority.

      Being a border security force, being taxed punitively and funding bizarre local licensing schemes on the other hand…

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      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        Agreed (on the point of ”some regulation…”) however, overregulation is the enemy of growth/progress, beit ecomomic, social or political. You’ll note my comment relates to ”overregulation” and not in specific regard to this proposal. IMHO regulation should be kept simple and enforceable/enforced. 

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    2. Harry Albert Lettings Estates

      To be fair, landlords who complain about safety regulations probably shouldn’t be landlords at all. With that being said, there are over a hundred individual acts of legislation and growing that landlords need to adhere to. This is why we recommend using a trustworthy agent.

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      1. Wanderer

        Landlords show their true colours when H&S is concerned and it’s very easy to get the measure of someone when you’re talking to them about safety guidelines that aren’t mandatory. I always want to run away screaming whenever a landlord says no to an EICR because you know what they’re going to be like later down the line. When it’s mandatory they will have to do it or get lost, which will be good either way!

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        1. Realitycheck97

          Exactly.  Which is why we treat 5 yearlys as law already and ALL our landlords go with it.  If they don’t, we pull the instruction.  A great filter to sift out the very few landlords who don’t take our advice and have a bad attitude to safety. And we’re left with decent landlords and decent properties that don’t waste our time with problems. Better business. Winner!

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    3. Gloslet

      If the Government believe ‘there is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their own homes’ why they haven’t extended the regulations on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, legionella assessments, annual gas safety checks, electrical tests, etc, etc to every home in the land rather than limit it just to rental homes ?

       

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  5. Will

    So Brokenshire has been in office for a week or so and is  fully read up on his portfolio and is now an expert.  Wow if only I could do that!   I don’t have too much of a problem with the 5 yearly electrical checks.  I do have a problem with Grenfell and the fact Goverment produced the BUilding Regulations which allowed flammable cladding and things like plastic windows in high rise flats and then blame everyone else for its own failures.  Brokenshire is trying to take credit for the work of others typical politician bluster.

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    1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      On a completely unrelated (and somewhat ironic note), having a chap called ”Brokenshire” as Sec. of State for Housing is akin to appointing ”Sparky McPetrol-Cann” as head of the Fire Service…

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  6. Wanderer

    This is good, it is time that wishy-washy recommendations are turned to outright laws so that there is no wiggle room and we don’t have to get stuck in lengthy discussions with landlords who are looking for reasons not to complete safety checks, or who make it obvious that they think we are forcing them to pay money for safety checks that aren’t required.

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  7. CountryLass

    I have always suggested to my Landlords that they have an electrical certificate as well as a gas check. My reasoning is that a gas leak has a warning in the smell, with electricity you can flick a light switch and die. No warning whatsoever. And as the certificates last for 5 years I think this is good.

     

    Much more sensible that the Legionella check IMO.

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    1. Wanderer

      I’m absolutely sick to death of the Legionella checks, no one understands them or wants one done, the guidelines are absolutely useless, either make it completely clear whether one is required, state the period and back it up with a mandatory requirement or stop wasting our time, I do quite literally waste hours and hours on it and landlords are certain I am having them on despite the fact that we do not make any money out of the checks or organising them, I just spend hours of my time organising them for nothing!

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      1. CountryLass

        As it is basically ‘stored’ water, our tenants have questioned why they are required to run all taps and the shower for about 20 minutes if they have been away for a week?

         

        Useless. Utterly useless.

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        1. Realitycheck97

          A week?  You don’t.  The initial risk assessment is the key. Dead legs etc a risk.  Student house locked up all summer a risk.  Most of the rest are not and simple measures suffice.  There’s a bogus testing industry out there fleecing agents and landlords with ridiculous trsting regimes.  It just isn’t necessary.  

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  8. PeeBee

    Good time to get my Electrical ‘ticket’ then, I guess…

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    1. Will

      PeeBee,  You are right there, if you are a letting agent the government says you have no value (we know that is not true though if you put on your border guard uniform, H&S uniform etc etc) but they are making opportunites for you to re-train as a sparks or gas engineer.

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  9. new life

    This is something that should have been introduced years ago , but now the spotlight is focused on the Pivate rental market and other vote chasing measure That said  as an Ex electrician the state of properties in general is poor i wouls suggest maybe over 50% of older properties would fail such a test and the cost of remedial works could be substantial, those cost will of course eventually be passed on.

     

    Safer homes much higher rents cant have it both ways.

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    1. propertykevin

      Or the property will just be sold and there becomes one less property available to rent pushing up the rental prices of those that remain making them unaffordable resulting in void periods and landlords having to sell up because they can’t afford to have them sat empty – and so on and so forth…………………

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