It’s extremely important to know that the property you are renting or the property you own as a landlord is electrically safe. With new regulations in England coming into force for smoke alarms and the staggering increase in category 1 hazard homes being rented out, it’s imperative to raise awareness on the risks that the rental market holds.
Electrical safety is a key responsibility for landlords to keep their tenants safe and avoid fines.
Failure to keep equipment such as light switches, microwaves and fuse boxes safe can result in fines, bans and imprisonment.
It is highly recommended that private landlords carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every five years, tested by a registered, competent electrician.
It is also advised to make sure the property has proper RCD protection. An RCD is a Residual Current Device, which is a life-saving device that will prevent you from any dangers of shocks, should you touch a live element, and will cut the power when there’s a path to earth.
Thousands of fires caused by electrical faults in the home could have been reduced if an RCD had been fitted. Both tenants and landlords are advised to check to see if an RCD is fitted and working in the property already. It’s as simple as pressing a button, every 3 months.
Circuit breakers are an important part of your consumer unit and to fire safety, as they prevent circuit overloads and surges by automatically switching off. The purpose of a circuit breaker is to prevent from fires and to save lives.
A regular EICR will ensure that the electrical installation system complies with both the current edition of the Wiring Regulations and Part P of the Building Regulations. Landlords should make sure that tenants receive a copy of the periodic inspection, in the form of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
According to the Office for National Statistics, 22 people died as a result of electrocution or fatal electric burns in 2010, while there were 20,403 accidental electrical fires in homes, resulting in 48 deaths and 3,324 injuries.
Landlords should make sure any electrical equipment they provide has a safety kitemark such as the CE logo that shows a product meets EU standards.
Landlords are required to provide electrical installation certificates to show new equipment is safe, but there is no legal requirement to have it regularly inspected.
However, there are several pieces of legislation that landlords could fall foul of if they provide faulty electrics.
Legislation such as the Landlord and Tenant Act require landlords to respond to any requests for repairs and a claim could also be brought under the Consumer Protection Act if a property is found to be unsafe.
Landlords also have a duty of care for people on their property.
A tenant would need to report concerns about electrical equipment to the local council. An enforcement officer would visit the property and make an order for any changes.
Failure to comply could result in fines or bans and makes it harder to evict a tenant.
To help make things easier for you we have attached some current legislation that we have referred to above. Please find downloadable PDF documents for The original Building Regulations 1984, The Building Regulation Amendments in 2000 and also some information for Private Landlords that was taken straight from the gov.co.uk website on the 14/11/2017.