Landlords have an obligation to ensure that electrical safety standards are met while letting a property to a tenant.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has received Royal Assent, and is now passing into law. One of the clauses in the Act relates to the electrical safety of properties that are let to tenants in the private rented sector.
In the future the Secretary of State will be able to pass regulations which place a positive obligation on Landlords to make sure that the properties that they let meet relevant electrical standards. This obligation covers both the electrical supply into and within the property, as well as any electrical fixtures or equipment that the Landlord supplies within the property.
Until the Secretary of State issues the regulations the details of what they will contain are unclear. The likelihood is that the Secretary of State will require testing rather than a simple declaration of safety by the Landlord; that any testing will need to be performed by a qualified electrician; and that the testing will be similar (if not identical) to the current Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). The tests might be required annually.
It is not yet clear if the standard set by the Secretary of State will simply aim to eliminate unsafe electrical installations or whether it will force Landlords to bring wiring up to the latest standards.
The Act has a very wide definition of ‘premises’ – it can include caravans and mobile homes as well as the more traditional residential properties.
What happens if the Landlord doesn’t comply? As well as a financial penalty, the local authority (with the Tenant’s consent) could enter the property to remedy any electrical safety failures, and they would presumably pass any costs on to the Landlord.
There is every possibility that when the Secretary of State issues the regulations there will be a surge of testing, and this could easily increase the cost of getting those tests done. If you are a Landlord the wise thing would be to get an electrician to check your wiring now and to get all appliances PAT tested – and after all, wouldn’t you want your properties to be as safe as possible anyway?
How can we help?
If you need help making sure that, as a Landlord, you comply with the relevant legislation then talk to us. We can also help you with your tenancy contracts and, if you get into a dispute, our specialist Dispute Resolution team can help find the most cost effective way to resolve the issue to your advantage.
About Taylor Bracewell
Taylor Bracewell operates from offices in Thorne Road and Ten Pound Walk in Doncaster and Fountain Precinct in Sheffield. Specialist areas are: Family Law, Business Law, Personal Law (including Wills, Probate, Trusts and Conveyancing), Dispute Resolution, HR & Employment Law, Charity Law.
You can contact us at email@example.com or call us on 01302 341 414 in Doncaster or 0114 272 1884 in Sheffield.