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Changes to keep tenants safe from electrical fires welcomed

New regulations out today could see private landlords facing fines of up to £30,000 if they don’t comply with important changes, designed to keep tenants safe from faulty electrics and fire hazards.

Under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, landlords must now get wiring, light fittings, plug sockets and other electrical installations in renters’ homes checked at least every five years by a “qualified and competent” person.

Landlords are already required to carry out gas safety checks every year.  On top of this, they also have a legal responsibility to ensure working smoke and carbon monoxide (where required) detection is installed and working, when new tenants move in.  

Group Manager Steve McCormick for Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Electrical safety in any property is extremely important. All too often, we see the devastating consequences fires caused by electrical appliances or poor installations can have on a home.  They can be the source of a fire starting or someone suffering an electric shock, either of which could prove fatal.

“I urge landlords to be responsible and comply with these new regulations to ensure the safety of their tenants.

“If a landlord has provided electrical equipment in the property such as fridges, freezers or cookers, and also items such as lamps and kettles, then I would also advise them to have them portable appliance tested (PAT) annually and to register all white goods so they can be informed if a fault is identified after purchase.”

If you're a landlord, property manager or tenant, find out about your rights and responsibilities

The regulations mean:

  • Electrical wiring, sockets, consumer units (fuse boxes) and other fixed electrical parts in rented homes must be inspected and tested every five years, or more often if the inspector thinks it necessary.
  • Throughout the whole time a tenant is living at the property, national electrical safety standards must be met.
  • Landlords must give the tenant a report that shows the condition of the property’s electrical installations. They also have to give this to the local council if they ask for it.

The new regulations are in place for those who sign tenancy agreements after today (July 1) and your rented home is your only or main residence and you pay rent, your home is covered by these requirements.

However, if you signed your tenancy agreement before July 1 2020, your home will be covered from April 1 2021.

Read the full guidance for both landlords and tenants (opens in new window)

Find out more about how to register an appliance or for electrical fire safety advice via the website www.cheshirefire.gov.uk

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