In November last year we posted on the working group established to provide recommendations to ministers on electrical safety. That post can be read here. This month the government began a consultation inviting views and comments to gather further additional evidence on the recommendations made by the working group.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced powers to set requirements for electrical safety standards in the private rental sector along with their enforcement where there is a breach. The government’s position is that these powers are necessary to make homes safer for tenants and will benefit landlords because there will be material improvements to their properties.
The government appears to be particularly looking for views on the working group’s recommendations and has a list of specific questions it is looking for responses to. Reading between the lines it appears that the government appears to be leaning towards:
- Penalties for non-compliance could range from a remedial or improvement notice or civil penalties ranging from up to £5,000 to up to £30,000.
- Restricting landlords evicting tenants with a section 21 where they have failed to comply with any new regulations. This is similar to the current position with the Gas Safe certificate.
- 5 yearly mandatory electrical installation safety checks for all private rented properties.
- Mandatory safety certificates confirming installation checks have been completed along with any necessary repair work provided to both landlord and tenants at the beginning of the tenancy and made available to local authorities on request.
- A private rented sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be established to ensure properly trained experts undertake this work.
- Landlord supplied electrical appliance testing and visual checks of electrical appliances by landlords at a change of tenancy should be promoted as good practice and set out in guidance.
The consultation will close on April 16th after which we will update the post if necessary.
The secondary legislation required to implement the electricity safety measures is now delayed even further. It is not clear why the government deems it necessary to review the working group’s report with this consultation but whatever the objective there is now going to be a substantial delay.