A report from The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Working Group suggests that new legislation is needed in England to improve electrical safety in homes in the private rented sector (PRS) by making a five yearly inspection compulsory.
The paper says compared to tenants in social housing, PRS tenants typically face a higher risk of incidents from electrical faults in their homes.
For example, in 2014, around 59% of homes in the PRS had all five recommended electrical safety features installed – this was considerably less than 77% of housing association homes and 72% of local authority homes.
The working group report says that the inspection and testing of a property’s electrical installation at five year intervals should be set out in the regulations by enabling powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to set electrical safety standards.
The document says: “The aim of the regulations would be to ensure that the electrical installation is safe for continued use and reduce the risk of death, injury and damage to property from electrical hazards in the private rented sector”.
Currently, five yearly electrical checks of the electrical installation and appliances supplied within privately rented homes in Scotland is mandatory. These checks must be carried out by a registered electrician.
The Welsh Government is currently looking at options to introduce duties on electrical safety standards in Wales.
The report said policy change should bear in mind the cost burdens for both landlords and agents whilst maintaining adequate protections for tenants.