Compulsory electrical checks must not be introduced this year, says ARLA

The government is to make five-yearly electrical checks of rented homes compulsory, but industry body's chief warns bringing it in this year would be 'too much'.

Rented homes will soon have to undergo ‘tough’ new electrical safety checks every five years, it has been announced by housing minister Heather Wheeler.

But ARLA has told the government that any new regulation cannot be brought during 2018 as the industry is already creaking under the weight of recently-introduced regulations including Client Money Protection rules, the tenant fees ban and a widening of money laundering regulations to include letting agents.

David Cox, ARLA, image“We’ve had mandatory gas safety checks for years, and therefore it is logical to extend similar checks to electrical safety,” says its Chief Executive David Cox (left).

“However, there may not be enough qualified inspectors to cope with demand from the whole industry in a short period of time, and therefore we will need a long lead time so landlords can meet the requirements.”

Electrical checks

The government says the new electrical check will be hard-hitting and have to be carried out by a competent and qualified tester. Guidance will soon be published that will set out the minimum levels of competence required to be a tester.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  has also revealed that landlords will be legally required to ensure that the inspectors they hire to carry out safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so – with “tough financial penalties” for those who fail to comply.

Existing regulation

At the moment Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 obliges landlords of residential lettings to keep electrical installations in good repair and proper working order.

A landlord may also be liable for the injury of a tenant or resident caused by defective wiring under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

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