Landlord Electrical Safety Checks by Partner Claire-Elaine Arthurs
January 21, 2020
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The Government has now started the process under the Housing & Planning Act 2016 for bringing into force the requirement for all Landlords to carry out electrical safety checks.
From 25 October 2019 the provisions of the Act relating to electrical safety checks came into force. The next stage will be to make further regulations. This means that the Secretary of State will shortly make regulations about how and when those checks should occur.
The last consultation on the electrical check plans was in January 2019. At that stage the Government indicated it had plans to introduce a requirement for all Landlords to have an electrical safety inspection every five years. It was also suggested that there will be some guidance as to who should conduct those inspections.
More detail will appear in the published regulations. Current indications are that the Government will produce the regulations as soon as Parliament has time. Given the current parliamentary uncertainty around Brexit, it may be that this will not be timetabled now until later this year. Therefore, I would not expect to see this coming into force until at least the later part of 2020.
Usually, regulations will apply to new tenancies first and then be phased in to established tenancies. Therefore, there will be a period of transition. One frustration may be that this will be another issue for Landlords that will be enforced by way of local authorities and it seems likely that there will be civil penalties for non-compliance, as with other recent Landlord regulations.
In the meantime, Landlords should consider whether they ought to have an electrical inspection in any case. This is a requirement of some insurance providers and, Landlords are already under an obligation to ensure that the properties are fit for habitation. This means that if it was found that there was an electrical fault in the property, then a Landlord could be found liable, particularly if they had not taken the precaution of carrying out the electrical checks. For that reason, it is recommend to the Landlords that they carry out regular electrical checks, regardless of whether or not they are required by legislation, which is only the case for houses in multiple occupation at present.
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