• International Workplace
  • 28 August 2018

Five-year electrical checks to be compulsory for landlords

Landlords must have electrical installations in their rental homes checked every five years under new rules. 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; and
  • 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.

Brokenshire 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;
  • consulted on banning or restricting the use of ‘desktop studies’ from being used to assess the fire performance of cladding systems, unless a separate consultation demonstrates that they can be safely used. The consultation has closed and the government is reviewing the responses;
  • made available £400m to fund the removal and replacement of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding in the social sector. Local authorities and housing associations can apply here; and
  • 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.

The RLA has a landlords’ guide to electrical safety on its website.