On the 23rd of November, NAPIT attended the Leeds City Council Annual Landlord Forum of 2016. The event, which was free for landlords to attend and saw around 250 attendees, provided an opportunity to discuss the future of the private rented sector and update landlords on current, recent and proposed legislation which could affect them. Following NAPIT’s long term commitment to raising awareness of electrical safety in the private rented sector, we were invited to give a presentation on what landlords should and must do to ensure the electrical safety of the properties they let.
Currently in England, landlords are not required to perform mandatory Electrical Installation Condition Reports in their properties, but the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 makes it clear that landlords are responsible for keeping electrical installations in good repair and proper working order. The lack of clear guidance as to how to demonstrate the electrical safety of a private rented property has had a knock-on effect on tenants, with 16% of private rented sector tenants in England experiencing problems with electrical hazards and 5,622 accident domestic fires being caused by electrical distribution systems in 2014/15. NAPIT’s presentation discussed these issues and the benefits to landlords in having Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) completed every five years by individuals with a Level 3 or equivalent qualification in inspection and testing, supported by an annual visual check.
With developments in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, there is clear evidence that the Government is beginning to take the issue of electrical safety in the private rented sector seriously. The Act includes an Electrical Safety Clause which grants the Government the power to introduce electrical safety requirements in the private rented sector through secondary legislation. While this clause is a step in the right direction, there is still work to be done before electrical safety standards in the private rented sector are introduced.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council Executive Board Member with responsibility for communities said:
“It was great to have so many different companies from across our region attending the private landlords conference and passing on their knowledge about key issues facing landlords, and how to deal with these. NAPIT provided a good overview of electrical safety in privately rented homes, and provided the landlords in attendance with invaluable advice about how to keep ahead of any new changes and developments relating to this issue.”
Looking ahead, NAPIT will continue to pursue further avenues of raising awareness of electrical safety in the private rented sector. The coming months and years will be a critical time for this issue, and NAPIT are committed to driving the debate and pushing for the changes that the private rented sector needs.