Environment, Safety and Standards

Electrical safety legislation already exists – why do we need more?

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The RLA has told the Government there is no need for new rules on electrical safety.

In its official response to the Government’s consultation on the issue, the RLA makes the point that there is an existing statutory requirement for the landlord to keep electrical installations in good repair and proper working order – there is no need for new laws.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System’s (HHSRS) Operating Guidance shows that the average risk to tenants from dangerous electrics is very low – less than half of the risk from noise and significantly less than the impact of overcrowding, dampness and the risk from radon.

The consultation follows the publication of a report by the Electrical Safety Standards Working Group in November.

The working group recommended that mandatory electrical installation checks should take place at least every five years.

However, the RLA believes a five-yearly test regime is not appropriate for single occupancy properties and small blocks of flats, particularly if electrical safety features are present, such as PVC wiring and RCDs.

It also opposes suggestions that inspections should be at inspectors’ discretion.

This opinion is echoed by the Health and Safety Executive, which is also strongly against inspectors having discretion, partly because they have a financial interest in more regular periods.

In some areas of London where discretion has been included in licensing conditions, annual inspections have become the norm.

The RLA has technical concerns regarding Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) and also asked for clarity regarding ‘visual checks’.

However, it does agree with the working group that a scheme recognising competent and qualified electrical inspectors and testers should be introduced to eliminate any rogue contractors – and that any changes should be phased in.

The RLA already recommends members carry out checks on electrical appliances that they supply at the change of each tenancy – in line with the recommendationsin the report.

To read the response in full click here.

The RLA also has a guide outlining landlords’ responsibilities when it comes to electrical safety.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and 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.

1 Comment

  • Electrical work nowadays has become so expensive since the introduction of Part P. A periodic inspection report alone can cost several hundred pounds and that’s before any work has been done. A relatively modern electrical installation with RCDs should not have to have a periodic inspection report every five years but let’s say some sort of less expensive certificate of compliance thus cutting down on red tape and costs.

    Tenants can change every six months so any protracted electrical inspection for every change of tenancy would prove to be inordinately expensive. There is already enough pressure on landlords to get things right and it’s about right now without any further intervention from what is threatening to be a Nanny State!

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