As part of changes to the Repairing Standard, landlords are required to ensure their rental properties are free of lead by 1 March 2024. Government guidance on this requirement was published in March 2023 and since then SAL has been in dialogue with the government over some elements of the guidance which are unclear.
One of these elements is the extent of the requirement as the guidance states in section D.20 that lead pipes and lead lined storage tanks or fittings should not be present in the water supply of any privately rented property from the boundary stopcock to the kitchen tap. In apparent conflict section D.24 states that water should be tested at all outlets where water may be consumed as lead may be present anywhere in the building’s plumbing.
When SAL first queried this with the government, we were advised that landlords should be testing for lead at all outlets where water may be consumed. Following further correspondence the government has now advised that landlords only need to test for the presence of lead at any outlets between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap. A test result of about 3 micrograms or more per litre indicates that some lead is present in the plumbing. Landlords should then identify the location of lead pipes and arrange for any found between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap to be replaced.
This amended guidance means that for most properties the only outlet which needs to be tested for lead is the kitchen tap. This overrides previous guidance to also test outlets at the bath, basin and utility room. These outlets would only need to be tested if they are located between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap.