Electrical regulations should come as no shock

Renters who sign new tenancy agreements from next month will have greater protection from the risks of electrical shocks and fires.

Cherwell District Council is welcoming new national safety standards which come into effect from July. The regulations require that all fixed electrics are kept in a safe condition throughout the whole time a tenant is living at the property. Landlords will need to have all electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested at least every five years. Fines of up to £30,000 could be levied if they fall short.

Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “Electrical wiring, sockets and fuse boxes can all fly under the radar when people move into a new home. But any one of them could become a safety hazard if not properly maintained. These new regulations leave no room for the small minority of landlords in our area who look to cut corners: the checks must be carried out by a qualified person, documented, and evidenced to us within a week on request. The rules empower people considering moving into a property to demand a copy of the electrical report and I would encourage people to do this before signing a tenancy agreement.”

The rules apply to any tenancy agreement signed after 1 July 2020. From 1 April 2021, they will apply to any tenancy agreed before that date.

The inspections must be carried out by a qualified and competent electrician, at least every five years. If hazards are identified, landlords must carry out all necessary repairs without delay. If they fail to do so, the council can serve a notice requiring the landlord to make the necessary improvements. The council can also arrange for urgent remedial work to be done within two days and recover the costs.