Environment, Safety and Standards

Government publishes electrical safety report

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The RLA has welcomed a new electrical safety report which includes recommendations put forward by the association.

The report, which was produced by a DCLG working group which included RLA Vice Chairman Chris Town, recommends that landlords should be encouraged to install Residual Current Devices (RCDs) as good practice, with the recommendation set out in official guidance.

This was a key suggestion that the RLA put forward in a submission to the DCLG.

RCDs are safety devices designed to prevent people from getting a fatal electric shock form faulty appliances and wiring, if they touch something live such as a bare wire.

The working group also agreed with the RLA suggestion that specific private rented sector electricians should be trained, in recognition of the unique electrical challenges in many rental properties – especially homes which can often have multiple people in them using a large number of devices at the same time.

There is currently no requirement to bring in regulation for electrical testing under the Housing and Planning Bill, so earlier this year a working group was set up by DCLG, to discuss the pros and cons of compulsory checks of PRS homes.

RLA Vice Chairman, Chris Town, who sat on the working group, said: “We welcome the publication of the working group’s report and the focus it has rightly given on the importance of electrical safety.

“It is pleasing that the final report contains a number of recommendations put forward by the RLA, and we look forward to working with Ministers to ensure adoption of sensible and pragmatic changes that will improve safety in rental housing.”

The full report is available to read on the government website.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

3 Comments

  • I thought the article underplayed the implications of the recommendations.

    One section of the report stated “However, tenants in the PRS face a higher risk of incidents from electrical faults in their homes compared to tenants in social housing2. In 20143, 59% of homes in the PRS had all five recommended electrical safety features installed. While this has improved, the PRS lags behind the social rented sector, where 72% of local authority homes and 77% of housing association homes had all five safety features installed in 2014.”

    I would’ve liked to have seen a comparison based on housing type. Obviously, there are more houses of lower value in the rented sector. So, a more worthy comparison would’ve been to compare rented houses with the same value profile as occupied premises.

    If the recommendations are adopted, every five years landlords will be required to carry out a safety check of each property. The anticipated cost is £250 every five years. ”recommended that the inspection and testing of the property’s electrical installation at 5 year intervals should be set out in regulations”

    This will impose additional cost on landlords.

    Personally, I think every property should be protected by residual current device in any case, and I always install them in mine.

  • It would be useful to know if the requirement for RCDs is likely to apply just to circuits feeding sockets, or will it also apply to lighting circuits as well?

    Current Electrical Regs require RCDs on all circuits, but there are a vast number of homes with RCDs for socket circuits but not lighting. Retro-fitting these with RCDs for lighting as well would often be a fairly big job requiring a new Consumer Unit. RCBOs may be a possible solution in some cases but they are often difficult to fit into old Consumer Units. So it would be helpful to know what is proposed.

    You mention that there has been discussion about compulsory checks but there isn’t any mention of the conclusions of the working group. It would be helpful to know what direction these discussions are leading in.

    Personally I don’t like the current situation, where there is a suggestion that it would be a good thing to do, but no clear legislative requirement to carry them out. This is a ridiculous limbo to be in and it is unclear what would happen if an electrical fire led to loss of life that could have been prevented if the house had been checked.

  • Ah well, todays WTF moment !
    There’s been a system in place for many years that seems to work – so now they decide to introduce yet another register to further complicate matters ? Presumably it will cost sparkies something to get themselves on this new register, so not all of them will bother which means we’ll have fewer sparkies to choose from to do our EICRs.

    Perhaps I should get myself on the register and branch out a bit.

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