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Electrical Safety – what you need to know.

From Robert Ulph on April 20, 2015

I have been writing in my recent articles about the amount of legislation a landlord now has to be aware of and what a minefield it all is. One particular grey area seems to be around electrical safety in your rental property.

With the election looming I can see the new government looking again at the laws relating to electrical safety and, like Gas Safety Checks and Energy Performance Certificates, making it a legal requirement. I thought therefore I’d take this opportunity to pass on information about what this means for landlords.

What is the current law on electrical safety in rented property?

There are two areas of electrical safety that private landlords should be aware of: First there is fixed installations e.g. fuse boards, circuits, light fittings, switches and sockets. Secondly there are electrical appliances e.g. ‘white goods’ and small portable appliances.

It is the landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure that the property they are letting is deemed to be safe, including any electrical appliances the landlord provides as part of that tenancy.

As a minimum standard of safety, Landlords are legally obliged to:

  • Ensure that the electrical installation is safe when a tenant(s) moves in, and that it remains in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
  • Ensure that any electrical appliances, which the landlord provides, are safe. In addition, all electrical appliances must have (at the very least) a CE marking. (CE markings are the manufacturer’s claim that the appliance meets EU laws and safety requirements)
  • Currently (but as stated may change soon) it is not a legal requirement that a periodic inspection be carried out every five years. However, to be on the safe side we advise that you follow the latest advice from the Electrical Safety Council who recommends you carry out this inspection every five years as a matter of course.
  • The main point is if you are not 100% sure it’s safe, get it checked but at the moment there is no law to say you have to.

What about HMO?

If the property is an HMO (house in multiple occupation) then it must have a periodic inspection carried out by a qualified electrician every five years.

In addition, a certificate must be kept and viewable within 7 days upon request, so make sure you do check these and take a note of when they need to be retested.

Contact us

If you require any further advice or information on electrical safety or any other letting-related questions please do not hesitate to call me on 01473 214 343 or email me robert@pennington-online.co.uk