Latest regulatory updates

Last updated 21 August 2020

Kurt Janson

Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, gives a monthly update on the latest regulatory changes affecting the hospitality industry. 

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Do the new electrical regulations apply to you?

The Government has recently introduced the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. These new regulations are intended to improve the safety of rented accommodation and set landlords a number of requirements, including:

  • Ensuring the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified person every 5 years
  • Suppling a copy of the resultant electrical report to people living in the property or applying to rent the property

These new regulations have led to questions being asked as to whether they apply to businesses supplying tourist accommodation, especially self-catering properties.

The short answer to this is that they do not apply to tourism accommodation, meaning that there is no specific legal requirement for tourism accommodation businesses to undertake regular electrical testing. However, all businesses have a Duty of Care to both their guests, their staff and any contractors who visit the premises. As part of this you already need to undertake a risk assessment on your property, including electrical hazards, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.  The difference being that the while these require you to make sure that your property is free from electrical hazards, unlike the new electrical safety regulations they do not prescribe the testing regime that you need to have in place to achieve this.

What the new legislation will do, therefore, is to raise expectations as to how often tourism accommodation operators need to undertake electrical inspections, especially when the accommodation being provided has been built to domestic specifications – i.e., self-catering and B&B properties.

The new legislation means that, if an accident were to happen, the first question would be, “If a landlord is required to test electrical systems every five years to protect tenants, why did you decide not do the same to protect your guests?”

Therefore, it would be wise to use the new electrical regulations as the new standard for electric inspections in the same way as the 2015 Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations have set the standard for the use of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in self-catering properties, even though they too only apply to residential landlords.