Advice for Landlords
Electrical safety checks are an important part of residential lettings and often neglected by landlords. Whilst there is currently no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical equipment as there is with gas, it is advisable to do so as you can still be liable if things go wrong.
Under Common Law and various statutory regulations: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe at the start of every tenancy and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
In the case of commercial property and houses in multiple occupation there is a statutory duty under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 for the responsible person (the property manager) to carry out annual Fire Safety Risk Assessments, which includes taking into account electrical safety.
In January 2005 new legislation under Part P of the Building Regulations made it a requirement that certain types of electrical work in dwellings, garages, sheds, greenhouses and outbuilding comply with the standards. This means a competent electrician must carry out the work. For DIY electrical work you must belong to one of the Government's approved Competent Person Self-Certification schemes and submit a building notice to the local authority before doing the work.
Landlords must ensure they comply with these regulations and ensure that all electrical equipment supplied is safe. The following advice may be useful:
- ensure that tenants are given copies of operating and safety instructions for ALL equipment in the premises
- make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch
- ensure a circuit breaker (RCD) is fitted to power circuits and that the electrical system complies with wiring regulations
- landlord or agent to carry out annual visual inspections and inspections on tenant change-overs, recording electrical equipment, its condition and fuses fitted
- carry out PAT testing of any supplied portable electrical equipment
- undertake periodic inspections of electrical equipment by a qualified electrician.
- 5 yearly inspections by a qualified electrician to ensure safety and that the electrical system complies with current electrical regulations.
- Keep all records of these inspections
For further information and advice please refer to the Landlords' Guide to Electrical Safety (The Electrical Safety Council). This guide, which is supported by Local Government Regulation, highlights the legislation most relevant to landlords in the private rented sector and includes advice on what landlords must do to ensure their rental properties are complying with the law.
The guidance covers fixed electrical installations, periodic inspections and portable applicance testing. It also covers fire alarms and emergency lighting and includes guidance on how to find an electrician.
The Housing Standards Team
Economic and Housing Regeneration Services
Tel: 01282 661008
Fax: 01282 661043
Useful Downloads and Links
- The Electrical Safety Council website
- The Electrical Safety Council - advice on How to Find an Electrician
- The Electrical Safety Council - FAQs Relating to Part P