You may already know about the change in government legislation which came into effect on 1st June 2020, making it a legal requirement for landlords to ensure all electrical installations in privately rented premises were inspected and certified by a qualified electrician at the start of each new tenancy.
This new legislation was only the start however. From 1st April 2021, it has been a legal requirement for all private landlords to provide an up to date electrical safety certificate to all existing tenants, as well as new tenants. You must arrange and complete a landlord’s electrical safety inspection by a qualified electrician and obtain an EICR (Electrical Inspection Condition Report).
This EICR is quick, easy and straightforward to arrange, and is a crucial part of your responsibility as a landlord towards your tenants. Your EICR will identify any damage, defects or deterioration that might indicate potential problems or dangers that might be lurking undetected.
To comply with government regulations, you will need to have your electrical installations (things like sockets, wiring, fuse boxes etc) inspected and tested by a qualified electrician at least every 5 years.
Keep your tenants safe, protect your property and adhere to government guidelines by getting a regular electrical safety check by a qualified electrician.
Other Electrical Safety Regulations You Must Know
As well as having regular inspections from a competent and qualified professional, there are a few other things you need to comply with to ensure you’re meeting your obligations as a landlord. Local authorities now have the power to impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for breaches of the regulations. You must:
- Ensure all national standards for electrical safety are met, including all electrical installations and wiring (the full guidelines are available on gov.uk)
- Supply a copy of the electrical safety report to your existing tenants within 28 days of your test
- Supply a copy of this report to any new tenants before occupancy, or to any prospective tenants
- If your report reveals any problems, make sure that you complete any remedial work or further investigations within 28 days and provide written confirmation that the works have been completed to your tenant and local authority within 28 days.
- Retain all paperwork relating to the inspection to supply for future inspections.
Why is Electrical Safety Important for Landlords?
As a landlord, you are responsible for both the safety of your property and ensuring that you’re providing a risk-free living environment – as well as being covered against any legal action that might arise due to perceived negligence. A thorough inspection of all electrical circuits and fixed installations with an up to date report will allow you to rent out your property with complete peace of mind that you’re meeting all regulations and providing the best property possible for your tenants.
What Will an Electrical Inspector be Looking For?
Your electrician will be searching for any inadequacies in your electrical setup – they will identify any faulty or defective wiring or fixed installations and check if any part is overloaded or likely to develop a problem.
During your landlord electrical safety check, your electrician will be looking at things such as:
- Lighting circuits
- Wiring circuits
- Fuse boxed and consumer units
- Sockets and switches
- Fixed electrical appliances such as electric showers and extractor fans
The electrician can then make any immediate hazards safe before they leave your property, as well as alerting you to any urgent issues that need attention.
Why PAT Testing is Important for Maintaining Electrical Safety as a Landlord
Although the government regulations on electrical safety only refer to fixed electrical installations and not electrical appliances, it’s important to consider carrying out regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) testing on any electrical appliances you are supplying in the property as part of good practice.
Faulty electrical appliances are one of the leading causes of domestic electrical fires, leading to property damage and loss, personal injury and even death. In the UK alone there are around 19,300 fires of electrical origin each year and over half of these fires are accidental domestic fires. Cooking appliances alone account for almost half (48%) of house fires.
As a responsible landlord, you’ll want to consider PAT testing your most commonly used appliances if you’re providing them, such as:
- White goods – fridges, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers
- Toasters or Grill Appliances
- Microwave ovens
- Televisions and Media Players
- Ovens and Hobs
Registering your electrical appliances with manufacturers will often get you longer guarantees incase of fault, but will also ensure that you are notified should any of your appliances be subject to recall or a common fault. You can register your appliance with most manufacturers regardless of whether you have bought it new or used. If your appliances are second-hand, there is a strong recommendation to complete PAT testing with your electrician before installing them in your property.
Other items to consider PAT testing for your peace of mind, and the protection of your tenants and property are seasonal items, such as fairy lights, other Christmas lights and electrical heaters and flame effect fires. Similarly, in summer, items like fans, patio heaters or drinks fridges could be candidates for extra testing.
Speak to HEXO Electrical Today for Your Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate
While we highly recommend performing a cursory visual inspection of your electrical installations at least once a year, when it comes to maintaining safe electrical practices it’s essential that you book with a qualified electrician. For any certification you must have your inspection carried out by a competent, qualified electrical contractor, and give yourself peace of mind that your property is safe, well-maintained and there are no electrical problems waiting to develop.