Electrical Safety For Landlords

Electrical Safety For Landlords In Rental Property

This article was written on 26 Mar 2009

As it stands, unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate. However, Landlords are obligated to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in:

  • Your property insurance may be invalidated
  • A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
  • Six month’s imprisonment
  • The Tenant may also sue you for civil damages
  • Possible manslaughter charges in the even of deaths

These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive. To avoid legal penalisation, it is advisable for landlords to have periodic checks done by a qualified electrician.

Electrical Saftey Regulations

While there isn’t a legal obligation on landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical appliances, there is, however, an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. It is a requirement that for certain types of electrical work in dwellings, plus garages, sheds, greenhouses and outbuildingd comply with the standards. This means a competent electrician must carry out the work.

Here are a few safety measures landlords can take themselves:

  • Keep supplied appliances to a minimum.
  • Ensure that all fuses are of the correct type and rating.
  • Make sure appliances supplied are complete and in working order – keep purchase receipts.
  • Ensure that flexes are in good order and properly attached to appliances and plugs.
  • Ensure that earth tags are in place.
  • Make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory.
  • Ensure that plugs are of an approved type with sleeved live and neutral pins.
  • Ensure that plugs and sockets conform to BS1363 or BS1363/A for heavy duty uses.
  • Pay particular attention to second hand equipment – always have these items checked.
  • Ensure that operating instructions and safety warning notices are supplied with the appliances.
  • Make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch.
Extra notes
  • If the property is an HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) you are required by law to provide yearly PAT (portable appliance testing) certificates for all appliances.
  • Any second hand equipment MUST have be PAT tested by law. That’s why charity shops no longer accept electrical goods – it would cost them too much to administer!
  • Technically, any equipment returned from service or repair MUST be PAT tested and carry the requisite sticker
  • Upgrading to 17th edition RCD’s (residual current device) to replace older style fuse boards can be done quite cheaply (certainly less than a law suit) and will provide electrical shock protection. They do not stop the shock, but when the device senses the shock – the MCB’s (minature circuit breakers) cut in. Usually within hundredths of a second.
  • You are not allowed to do ANY electrical work in kitchens or bathrooms and other areas are stricttly controlled by building regs and the law. If you do and an accident occurs your insurance will be void!
  • If ever in doubt get a Part P registered electrician to check it out. Once the part P registered sparky does the work it will be registered with either NAPIT or NICEIC and you will get a certificate.

On a final note, it’s always strongly advised that every landlord should make absolute carertainty they are complying with the appropriate electrical safety regulations to ensure that all electrical equipment supplied is safe. Get periodic inspections of electrical equipment by a qualified electrician.