A 12-week consultation has been launched by the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities, seeking comments on three proposals to enhance electrical safety for residents in social housing in England and bring greater parity between the rented sectors following the introduction of Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector England Regulations in 2020.
The consultation seeks views on the proposal to introduce mandatory checks on electrical installations in social housing at least once every five years and mandatory Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) on all electrical appliances that are provided by social housing landlords as part of a tenancy.
Under these proposals, social housing landlords would be required to obtain an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), undertaken by a qualified and competent person, at least once every five years (or a shorter period if specified). A copy of the report would need to be provided to the resident within 28 days, and any remedial or further investigative work identified on the EICR would need to be rectified within 28 days. It has been proposed that all electrical appliances provided by the social housing landlord should be inspected and tested in line with a risk assessment, with evidence of PAT being provided with an EICR to ensure PAT is completed at least once every five years. It has been proposed that these regulations would be enforced by local authorities.
In addition, a call for evidence has been issued alongside the consultation, requesting views on whether to introduce a mandatory requirement for electrical installation checks in owner-occupier properties within social housing blocks. This is being considered to assist with the overall safety of social housing blocks and the consultation considers whether this requirement should be placed on the owner-occupier leaseholder or on their freeholder and how it should be enforced.
Commenting on the consultation, Frank Bertie, Chairman of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) says: ‘It is great to see the publication of this consultation and the Government’s continuing commitment to enhancing electrical safety standards. We support the proposals within the consultation and the desire to align electrical safety standards across the rented sector. It is promising to see the Government collating views on the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in owner-occupier properties within social housing blocks. This paves the way for the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks for all dwellings within higher-risk buildings, which will enable parity of safety for all residents which we have been calling for.’
The consultation opened on 8 June 2022 and will close on 31 August 2022.