Renters are being placed at unnecessary risk due to a delay in essential laws that would protect renters from dangerous living conditions, a leading consumer safety charity is warning.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 which was previously set to come into force today (Friday 15th July) has subsequently been delayed six months following an announcement by the Welsh Government.
The delay means laws protecting renters from dangerous electrics will not come into force until December this year, leaving tenants in both the private and social rented sectors at unnecessary risk.
The statement comes just weeks after Electrical Safety First published a first of its kind investigation showing that the same safety laws in England for private renters led to thousands of dangerous faults being identified in rented homes across the country in its first year since implementation[i].
Electrical faults identified across England included hazards which pose an immediate risk to the tenant, including access to live wires and plug sockets that could cause fire and electric shocks.
Wales has the oldest housing stock in the UK, with the proportion of dwellings in the private rental sector rising considerably.[ii].
As a result, the charity believes renters in Wales could be at greater risk from electrical hazards in the home and the delay to the introduction of the legislation leaves renters at unnecessary and avoidable risk.
Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First, commented: “This unnecessary delay in the law has left hundreds of thousands of renters across Wales facing potential dangers in their own homes. Wales remains the only nation in Britain yet to implement five-yearly electrical safety checks for private renters. The delay to this vital change in the law will leave them at unnecessary risk. We urge the Welsh Government to press ahead with the introduction of the law without any further delay.”
The charity is also urging landlords in Wales to comply with the forthcoming changes to the law, regardless of the Government’s delay.
Under the new laws, landlords of both private and social rented properties will have to undertake electrical safety checks of their property once every five years.
The check, otherwise known as a PIT (periodic installation and testing) will have to be carried out by a qualified individual, such as a registered electrician, who will assess the safety of the electrical installation at the property.
A grace period for compliance of one year will begin from the new date of implementation of the law in December, by which landlords have the time to carry out the checks to comply. Landlords who fail to comply with the law face renters being legally permitted to withhold rent payments.
Notes to Editors:
- Electrical Safety First is a charity dedicated to reducing death and injury caused by electricity in the home.
The Welsh Government announced a delay to the implementation of the legislation until December 2022, with the original date set for 15th July 2022. Read the Ministers announcement regarding the delay here: https://gov.wales/written-statement-implementation-renting-homes-wales-act-2016-deferral-implementation-date