Electrical Safety For Landlords: A Guide
Electrical safety is crucial: for tenants, it helps safeguard them from accidents like shocks or fires – which can even be fatal. For landlords, failing to comply with electrical safety standards puts them at risk of remedial and possible legal action. However, electrical safety for landlords need not be complicated: obtaining a landlord electrical safety certificate and ensuring the relevant checks are made is a simple process, ensuring peace of mind for both parties.
Why It’s Important
According to Electrical Safety First, faulty electrics and electrical equipment cause around 350,000 injuries and 70 deaths in UK homes – with electrical faults accounting for almost 50% of domestic fires.
Non-compliance with electricity safety doesn’t just cause damage to the property – it can result in serious injury and even death.
While many of these incidents result from misuse of appliances or the power grid, a large number of them also result from poor maintenance and disregard for electrical safety procedures.
Please note: this article is for guidance only and should not be used for research or legal purposes. For more detailed information, please visit the gov.uk page on electrical safety for landlords or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Tenants have their own responsibilities regarding electrical safety and appliances. As of 1st June 2020, private landlords across England are required to have the electrical installation in all of their rental properties checked for safety by a qualified electrician. For new tenants, this must be completed before the move into the property.
Checks must be then carried out on a five-yearly basis – with the exception of tenancy changes within the five-year period, in which case an EICR (Electrical Installlation Condition Report) should be supplied to the new tenants.
The Defective Premises Act 1972 states that landlords are required to offer a certain duties of care to tenants, that prevent them from personal injury or damage to property resulting from defects to the home – and in the case of HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), additional legal responsibilities also apply.
The landlord is also responsible for any appliances supplied within the property such as cookers and kettles in addition to the electrical wiring system itself (including fittings and fixtures). These must all be in full working order and maintained in accordance with electrical safety standards.
Section 21 Notices
Unfortunately, harassment by landlords threatening tenants with a section 21 notice still persists – but as of 1st October 2015, if a landlord has been served with an improvement notice by the local council, they cannot use a section 21. If one is served following a complaint about repairs, the landlord may be found guilty of retaliatory conviction, which is both illegal and punishable by law.
Non-Compliance: The Risks
Landlords who do not comply with law related to electrical safety standards are in contravention of both the The Consumer Protection Act 1987 and The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, which can result in courts action, invalidated insurance, up to £30,000 in fines – or even a prison sentence.
The purpose of a landlord electrical safety certificate (or EICR) is to show whether the electrical installation is detailing a list of any observations impacting safety or requiring repair which will be indicated by a relevant code (further information about EICRs can be found here).
During the check, the electrician will test and inspect fixed electrical installations in the property such as plug sockets or showers, and can make any immediate hazards safe during the inspection. They will not check portable items such as white goods or TVs – unless the landlord has requested they do a portable appliance (PAT) test.
Following the inspection, an EICR should be issued, with a copy supplied to the tenant, which should be supplied within four weeks of the inspection. Tenants are also advised to ask landlords for certification to confirm the property meets UK national standard BS 7671.
Any remedial work arising from the inspection must be completed within 28 days with written confirmation provided to both the Local Authority and tenant.
Ask A Professional
Electrical repairs should never be carried out by someone without a relevant qualification. As of 2005, an amendment to Building Regulations means that landlords are required to only employ fully qualified electricians who are registered with the PRS (private rental scheme) for any work carried out.
You can find out whether your electrician is qualified using the Competent Person Electrical Register. It is also recommended that circuits in your property are RCD (residual current device) protected. More advice on finding a local electrician Manchester can be found on our website, where you’ll also find a rewire cost calculator along with plenty of other useful information.