What are the electrical safety standards for England? Sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, electrical safety standards, come into force on 25 October 2019. This means we are finally one step closer to the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector in England. And we will see actual regulations very soon.
Meeting electrical safety standards
An enabling power was contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 under Section 122 to allow the Secretary of State through regulations to impose responsibilities on private landlords to ensure that they meet electrical safety standards under their ownership and while renting out their property. The Section also allows the Secretary of State to specify obligations that may befall on landlords with regards to the frequency of checks. But also, with the expertise expected of any persons who undertake such checks.
Section 123 provides for the enforcement of any responsibilities introduced under Section 122 including the use of financial penalties and rights of appeal.
Following Royal Assent of the Housing and Planning Act on 12 May 2016, electrical and tenant bodies will provide recommendations on what the requirements for electrical safety in the private rented sector should look like.
Now that the Commencement Order is in place, the Secretary of State has the power to lay actual regulations. Parliament will soon take care of this.
Summary of Electrical Safety Working Group recommendations:
- Five yearly mandatory electrical installation checks. These will become mandatory in secondary legislation.
- Encourage visual checks of the safety of the electrical installation by landlords at a change of tenancy. Initially, this will be good practice and then set out in guidance.
- A report should be issued to the landlord, which needs to confirm that an EICR has been completed. The report also needs to confirm that any remedial work necessary has been undertaken satisfactorily. The tenant should receive a copy at the beginning of the tenancy. The landlord should also allow the local authority to view the report, on request.
- Encourage landlord-supplied electrical appliance testing and visual checks of electrical appliances by landlords at a change of tenancy. Initially, this will be good practice and then set out in guidance.
- Encourage the installation of Residual Current Devices (RCDs) by landlords. Initially, this will be good practice and then set out in guidance.
- A Private Rented Sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be set up. This will be separate from the existing Building Regulations competent person’s scheme.
- DCLG should commission the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) management committee to consider the most effective method of recognising ‘competent PRS testers’ to carry out electrical inspections and tests.
- Legislative requirements should be phased in, beginning with new tenancies, followed by all existing tenancies.