Latest Legal Requirements for Landlords

publication date: Mar 30, 2015
 | 
author/source: Electrical Safety First

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Guest article from Electrical Safety First

Almost half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity and it’s estimated that they cause around £1 billion worth of damage each year. So the charity, Electrical Safety First, is working with the UK and Devolved Governments to ensure electrical regulations for all Private Rented Sector (PRS) homes are fit for purpose. Here, the Charity outlines what Landlords currently legally need to do – and what they might be required to do in future – to keep both their property and their tenants safe from harm.

All landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rental property and any electrical equipment they provide is safe, both when a tenancy begins and throughout its duration.

But landlord regulations are not the same throughout the UK. And they can differ depending on the type of property you rent out.

Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) throughout the UK must have regular electrical checks but this is not a legal requirement for all rented property. Apart, that is, from Scotland, where it has just been introduced in its new Housing Act.

But wherever you, or your property, are located, you can find detailed information on your legal responsibilities in the range of
landlord guides produced by the charity, Electrical Safety First.

However, the PRS is expanding and evolving and it’s good to be prepared. So here’s a brief look at the latest legal requirements for Landlords and what might be coming up.

Read - Electrical Safety Checklist

ENGLAND
Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has just announced that private sector landlords must install smoke alarms on each storey of their property, carbon monoxide alarms in the rooms considered most at risk from high levels of carbon monoxide and to check the alarms are in working order at the start of any new tenancy. Regular electrical checks were not included in the announcement.

The recent Government response to the review of conditions in the PRS also stated that there were no plans to include specific electrical safety regulation in any forthcoming legislation – despite the fact that almost 80% of respondents to the review supported it. However, the issue will be kept under consideration.

Read - Electrical Safety Checklist

SCOTLAND
The recent Scottish Housing Act included a requirement for landlords to ensure five-yearly electrical checks, by a registered electrician, of the wiring and any electrical appliances supplied in privately rented homes. The Scottish government has developed guidelines for the new regulations, which will come into effect from 1st December this year. And it has funded Electrical Safety First to promote the regulations through online campaigns and landlord events. The new guidelines can be found at www.prhpscotland.gov.uk.

Read - Electrical Safety Checklist

WALES
In Wales – where almost 70% of domestic fires are caused by electricity - the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill is currently going through the National Assembly. Electrical Safety First is lobbying for regular, mandatory electrical checks, as its own research shows three in ten landlords and 40% of renters do not know who is responsible for the electrical safety of their home.

Read - Electrical Safety Checklist

NORTHERN IRELAND
Last year, the Department of Social Development (DSD), began a review of the PRS and will be consulting on proposals during 2015-16. As 65% of all accidental fires in Northern Irish homes are caused by electricity, Electrical Safety First - supported by a range of other stakeholders - is working to have mandatory, five yearly testing of electrical installations and products throughout the sector, made a legal requirement.

For further information visit:

More information on Electrical Safety First can be found at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.

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