Government has announced they will introduce a mandatory requirement for landlords in the private rented sector to ensure electrical installations are inspected every five years. This is part of plans to drive up standards across the PRS and reduce deaths, injuries and fires caused by electrical faults.
Electrical testing has been a controversial issue for Private Landlords , as it has not been a legal requirement to do regular testing up to now. However, Landlords have always been responsible for ensuring that the property is safe for the tenants, and this includes electrical installations. When the Compulsory Landlord Licencing regulations in Burnley required that the property has a satisfactory up to date EICR ( Electrical Installation Condition Report), some landlords objected on the grounds of this not being a legal requirement for landlords in general. There were even some court cases which ruled against the licencing authority and for the Landlord, agreeing that the ECR could not be legally demanded by the authority. However, this new legislation clarifies the issue. Unfortunately this is another cost Landlords have to factor in to their lettings business, but it makes sense to insure electrical safety through 5 year testing in the same way that a Gas Safe Certificate is an annual requirement.
What we are not sure of at this point is how much testing will be required. Most tenants supply their own electrical appliances, and it would be an unfair burden to ask
Landlords to supply PAT testing on tenant's electrical appliances. If the Landlord does supply electrical appliances, certainly visual checks at a change of tenancy should be promoted as good practice.
The Private Rental Sector continues to grow according to the latest Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) English Housing Survey into the private rented sector. It shows the PRS is the second largest tenure in England, accounting for 20% of households. This figure has doubled from 2.1million in 1996/1997 to 4.7 million in 2016/2017. So despite the plethora of new regulations applying to landlords, it is still a viable business for investment, and provides an essential service to the community as well as potential profit for investors