Landlords in Wales risk hefty fines under new safety legislation
Private landlords in Wales will have to complete electrical safety checks on their properties every five years, under mandatory plans introduced by the Welsh government.
Under the new legislation, landlords risk being fined tens of thousands of pounds if they fail to appoint a registered electrician to carry out regular safety checks.
It will come into force in July as part of the government’s Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, which was passed more than five years ago.
Last week, climate change minister Julie James gave the promised six months’ notice that the act would be made law.
The act includes several major changes to rental law in Wales, such as increasing the notice period that landlords must give when issuing no-fault evictions from two to six months.
The law will also require that a ‘competent person’ must inspect the electrical installation of the property every five years.
The resulting condition report on the property issued to the landlord will confirm that the electrical installation is safe for continued use and will identify any necessary remedial work.
The periodic inspection and testing check will seek to identify problems and safety issues in homes, including electric shock risks and fire hazards, overloaded equipment and defective installation work.
Properties may be deemed unfit for human habitation if landlords fail to comply with these new requirements and fines of up to £30,000 could be imposed.
Commenting on the new regulations on the Inside Housing website, consumer safety charity Electrical Safety First welcomed the changes, which it has been urging the Welsh Government to adopt, since it helped the introduction of similar rules in England in 2020.
Safety checks already exist in Scotland for both the private rented sector and social housing.
Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said: “We are delighted to see Wales adopt better protections for tenants that will help ensure they are kept safe from dangerous electrics in the home.
“The law will not only better protect renters in Wales, but also contribute to raising awareness of the need to better maintain housing across the country. We look forward to working closely with the Welsh to ensure the successful implementation of the new regulations.”
The National Residential Landlords Association explains on its website that the incoming legislation forms part of a raft of new safety responsibilities for landlords as part of new ‘fitness for human habitation’ requirements.
It advises that the landlord will also have an obligation to keep the property in a state that is fit for human habitation based on a number of key hazards.
Bringing Wales into line with England, several new regulations will restrict the use of possession notices unless the landlord has performed certain tasks and provided
- An energy performance certificate
- A gas safety certificate
- A satisfactory electrical installation condition report
Additionally, landlords will not be able to serve a notice of possession if the property has insufficient smoke and CO alarms, or if a court considers that a possession notice has been served to avoid fulfilling the landlords obligations to repair or maintain a property in a state that is fit for human habitation.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.