The government wants to introduce mandatory electrical checks to improve safety standards in buy to let homes.
An Electrical Safety Standards Working Group set up when the Housing and Planning Act received royal assent last year has unanimously recommended that landlords should conduct the checks every five years.
The proposal moves buy to let homes into line with the electrical safety regime for houses in multiple occupation.
The report reckons the checks will cost landlords £50 a year for each property.
The working party also wants landlords to carry out a visual safety check of electrical installations at a change of tenants and to fit circuit breakers to their electric supply.
The new rules do not include testing of small electrical appliances supplied by a landlord.
Another recommendation calls for the setting up of a database of competent electricians for the private rental sector.
“The working party recommends that existing powers under the Housing and Planning Act should be enabled to order the electrical checks and to set up the database of competent electricians,” says the report.
“The aim of the regulations would be to ensure that the electrical installation is safe for continued use and to reduce the risk of death, injury and damage to property from electrical hazards in the private rented sector.”
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth confirmed the recommendations would not go out to consultation early in 2018.
“The government want to ensure that any regulation introduced is balanced and works for landlords and tenants. We also want to take account of the conclusions of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt before making policy decisions,” he said.
The report explained that private tenants face a higher risk of electrical faults in their homes than social tenants, who have more safety features installed.
The London Fire Brigade added that 748 fires were caused by electrical faults, compared to 97 involving gas installations, which have a mandatory annual safety check.
Around 4.5 million buy to let homes will be affected by the new rules.