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Charity issues timely reminder for private sector landlords on electrical safety

25 March 2021

SAFETY-FOCUSED charity Electrical Safety First is reminding England’s private landlords of the new obligations around electrical safety in their properties. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require private landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified electrician every five years to mitigate the risk of fires, etc.

Those landlords who fail to comply, or otherwise fail to undertake necessary repairs, could face fines of up to £30,000. Landlords will also have to provide a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report to tenants and, if requested, to the local authority.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 officially came into force on 1 June last year, but it’s at the beginning of next month that they will apply to existing tenancies. They were applied to new tenancies from 1 July 2020.

Electrical Safety First has led the charge throughout the UK for mandatory five-yearly electrical checks in the private rented sector. These became a legal requirement in Scotland in 2015 and in England from June 2020. The Welsh Government has committed to introducing these checks in both the private and social rented sectors simultaneously.

England’s new private rented sector regulations come some years after the 2008 electrocution of Thirza Whittall, a mother who was killed by an unidentified electrical fault when running a bath. An inquest heard the private rented sector property in which Whittall resided had not been checked since 1981.

A report on the prevention of future deaths – in tandem with calls for regular electrical checks in private rented sector properties – was also issued by a coroner in 2019 following the death of Professor John Alliston who was electrocuted by a faulty cable in the garden of a privately rented property.

“Good private rented sector landlords have always undertaken regular electrical checks,” asserted Lesley Rudd, CEO of Electrical Safety First, “but making these checks a legal requirement, with a significant penalty if landlords fail to comply, brings clarity and reduces electrical risk for people and property. Of course, it’s essential that these mandatory electrical checks are undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent person. This is a crucial point that we continue to highlight in all of our campaigns.”

*Electrical Safety First’s website provides consumers with a simple way in which to find a local qualified electrician registered with one of the Government’s approved schemes. For more information visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/find-an-electrician/

**Industry-recognised information on electrical installation condition reporting is available within the pages of Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide Number 4. This is available as a free download from the website