The government has recently announced (on 29th January 2019) that they intend to introduce new mandatory five-year electrical safety checks for privately rented homes throughout the UK. This move will require new electrical safety legislation to be drawn up. It comes after years of campaigning by consumer and safety groups following a number of tragic and fatal cases.
The intended changes cover two distinct areas:
1. That electrical checks must be carried out on privately rented homes every five years
2. That the person carrying out the checks is subject to meeting the minimum qualification and competence to do so. With the responsibility of employing a competent person falling to the landlord themselves.
Both measures are geared towards reducing the risks for those living in privately rented accommodation. The Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler MP explained; “These new measures will reduce the risk of faulty electrical equipment, giving people peace of mind and helping to keep them safe in their homes.
“It will also provide clear guidance to landlords on who they should be hiring to carry out these important electrical safety checks.”
With Brexit negotiations currently dominating proceedings in Westminster, it is conceivable that there may be some delay. Therefore the timing of the introduction of this new legislation is uncertain. However the government has indicated that developments ‘will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.’
It is anticipated that once passed, the legislation will be introduced in a series of transitional phases over two years. For the first year, the regulations will apply to new private tenancies. In the following year, they will be extended to all existing private lets. Landlords have six months to become familiar with the new requirements before regulations eventually come into force.
Failure to comply will lead to potentially hefty fines.
It is currently unclear as to whether this new legislation will apply to holiday home owners in addition to those letting their properties under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Regardless of any specific inclusion, it does highlight the need for cottage owners to remain vigilant when it comes to electrical safety. Holiday homeowners have a duty of care to ensure their holiday home is safe for both guests, visitors and employees. It has long been seen as good practice to have your holiday home electrical circuit tested every 5 years.
Please do check your records to ensure that your own electrical circuits and systems have all been checked and professionally tested within a reasonable period, or arrange for a competent and qualified person to do so as soon as possible.
For more information on electrical safety in your holiday home please take a look at our helpful blog posts:
When holiday letting your second home to paying guests it’s essential to take advice on suitable insurance. Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday letting apartment? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.