Environment, Safety and Standards Regulation and Enforcement

Breaking: Five-year electrical checks to be compulsory for PRS landlords

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Landlords must have electrical installations in their rental homes checked every five years under new rules announced today.

The new mandatory requirement for PRS landlords is one of a number of safety measures to be brought in by the Government, which has also launched a consultation into building regulations’ fire safety guidance.

A start date for the checks to be introduced has yet to be announced.

The Government has clarified the guidance, following recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and is now seeking views on the revisions.

The Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said there will also be a full-scale review of the guidelines covering fire safety matters within and around buildings, known as ‘Approved Document B’, this autumn.

This is something the RLA has been calling for and the move has been welcomed by the association.

The technical review will assess, amongst other things, whether the underlying policy should be updated to reflect modern building practice, the latest understanding of fire risks and technical and scientific innovations.

In addition to the new electrical checks the Minister announced:

  • a panel, made up of residents, will be established to ensure proposed safety improvements are grounded in the experience of those who live in high-rise buildings
  • Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a soon-to-be established Industry Safety Steering Group to drive the culture change needed to improve safety and hold industry to account
  • working with a small group of organisations from industry, safety improvements will be piloted, in line with Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations, demonstrating early leadership on building safety reform

He said: “There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their own homes.

“That is why I am announcing a package of measures focused on improving building safety, having listened carefully to the concerns which have been raised.

“Dame Judith’s report sets out the right framework to improve safety, but I will not hesitate to go further than the recommendations where I deem it necessary.

“That is why I am going further than my original commitment to simply clarify the guidelines, by commencing an end-to-end technical review of the fire safety aspects of building regulations in the autumn.”

The Government has already:

  • Launched a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in the external walls of high-rise residential buildings which are 18 metres and above. The consultation closes on 14 August.
  • Consulted on banning or restricting the use of ‘desktop studies’ from being used to assess the fire performance of cladding systems, unless our separate consultation demonstrates that they can be safely used. The consultation has closed and the government is reviewing the responses.
  • Made available £400 million to fund the removal and replacement of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding in the social sector. Local authorities and housing associations can apply here.
  • Announced further action to support local authorities as they work with building owners to remove potentially unsafe cladding on private sector high-rise residential buildings.
Find out more

RLA recently published a blog on electrical safety within homes, by Ian Halton of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT).

The RLA has a landlords’ guide to electrical safety on its website, with NAPIT providing trainers for the RLA’s electrical safety training course.

The RLA has reviewed its fire safety advice for residential landlords, with an overview available here. Owners of apartments or purpose built flats may also find the Guidance on fire safety in individual flats useful.

In addition to the new guidance the RLA is now offering online and classroom fire safety training courses which cover:

  • The different legislation relating to fire safety.
  • The different building/property types and which pieces of the above legislation apply
  • How to conduct fire risk assessments and protect both your tenants and your property from fire
  • Practical tips on fire safety and with reference to the LACORS fire safety guide.

For more information on our training courses click here.

 

 

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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