New electrical safety rules are on the way for buy to let and shared home landlords in England.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler wants to raise standards in the private rental sector as statistics show that private renters face a higher risk of shocks and fires triggered by electrical faults than tenants in social housing.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to live. While measures are already in place to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe properties we need to do more to protect tenants,” said the minister.

“That’s why we introduced powers to enable stronger electrical safety standards to be brought in along with tough penalties for those who don’t comply.

“We want to ensure we strike the right balance between protecting tenants while being fair for landlords. I want to hear from as many people as possible whether these independent recommendations are the right approach.”

The new safety recommendations cover:

  • Five-year electrical safety checks for all private rented homes
  • Safety certificates confirming installation checks and any repairs have been completed given to renters at the start of a tenancy which are available to a local authority on request
  • Setting up a private rented sector electrical testing competent person scheme to ensure trained experts undertake this work.
  • Testing and visual checks of electrical appliances supplied by landlords at change of tenancy promoted as good practice and set out in guidance.

An eight-week consultation asking for landlord and tenant views about the new rules ends on April 16, 2018.

“Ensuring that electrical installations are safe benefits both landlords and tenants by helping to prevent fires,” said Wheeler.

The government calculates the new measure will cost landlords £160 every five years, with an extra £97 a landlord each year spent on repairs and maintenance.