Shocking new legislation
New tougher electrical safety standards to protect private tenants
It seems we maybe in line for further measures to better protect tenants. However once again it seems that the consultation appears to be aimed at only private tenants. I am no legal expert but surely it should be one rule for all. We cannot assume that local authorities and other providers of social housing are going to maintain the same standards without the same safety measures. Indeed recent tragic efffects could argue that these social providers are indeed falling behind in terms of tenant safety.
The consultation looks at potential new safety measures to reduce the risk of electric shocks and electric faults causing fires and thus putting private tenants at risk. The consultation has been proposed by the current housing minister Heather Wheeler.
She is proposing that five yearly mandatory electrical installation safety checks for all private rented properties and safety certificates for tenants, to prove checks and repair work have been completed. As I have mentioned many many times I am all for protecting the safety of both the tenant and the landlord. However I feel that this is aimed again at a very small minority of landlords, whilst the majority of landlords and tenants will have to foot the bill for the cost of inspections and certificates. It could be a good time to be an electrician,
It is an opportunity for us as a body to hopefully have a say in the matter before it becomes legislation as the government is asking how best to enforce the strengthened safety regime. In addition they want to know if a penalty of up to £30k would deter the minority of landlords from not complying.
I would suggest as many of us as possible share our voice and give an opinion. Have your say
I am not sure if the housing minister is being a little condescending when she claims that the safer homes will add financial value to their buy to let properties and that the legislation will reduce the risk of fires. At present I cannot find any statistics on the number of electrical fires in private rented properties.
She claims that the most recent data tenants in the private rented sector face a higher risk of electrical shock and fires caused by electrical faults in their homes compared to social housing tenants. I would like to see this date and have requested it but nothing had come through. It will be interesting to see if the electrical faults are due to wiring or appliances.
In addition the government is also supporting a Private Member’s Bill which will require all landlords to ensure their properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action. Once again I am all for the protection of both landlords and tenants but it does appear that most if not all the recent legislation is aimed at protecting the tenant. The legal system is already struggling to deal with tenant evictions and other renting legislation to further burden it with tenants taking more legal action???
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler said we want to ensure we strike the right balance between protecting tenants while being fair for landlords. So I want to hear from as many people as possible whether these independent recommendations are the right approach. Again I would suggest we share the link and all have our say.
In summary this is what is being suggested:
- 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 the local authority on request.
- A private rented sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be established to ensure properly trained experts undertake this work. This would be separate from existing building regulations competent person.
- 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 runs until Monday 16 April 2018 so we do not have long as a body to voice our opinions.
Just before I finished writing this I did find the following but again no exact data. English Housing Survey (2015-16) shows 60% of homes in the private rented sector had all 5 recommended electrical safety features installed compared to 74% of local authority homes and 76% of housing association homes. These 5 features are modern PVC wiring, modern earthing, modern consumer units, miniature circuit breakers and Residual Current Devices.