What is my Responsibility as a Landlord for Electrical Safety?

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  • What is my Responsibility as a Landlord for Electrical Safety?

People often assume that electrical safety is not important to landlords. This cannot be the case now as the government has made EICRs (Electrical inspection condition reports) compulsory from the end of the year. The government have produced a guide for landlords, please refer to this – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector

Most electrical accidents in properties arise from the misuse of domestic appliances or electrical installations. These can occur through: –

  1. The electrical installation equipment deteriorating over a period of time
    2. Damage to switches, sockets and other equipment
    3. Misuse of the installation and equipment
    4. Poor or lack of maintenance of the installation of the equipment
    5. Vandalism

Landlords will now have a legal duty from the end of this year to complete EICR tests every five years for new tenancies. The legislation will then include renewing tenancies the year after. However, landlords don’t appreciate that they already have to carry out checks as contained within the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985. Section 8 of the act has an implied term as to the fitness for human habitation. The property should be fit for people to live in at the beginning of the tenancy. The recent Human Habitation Bill provided an update to the original act. Please refer to our previous article on this – https://harringtonslettings.co.uk/the-human-habitation-act-2018-a-guide-for-landlords/

The property also needs to be in a fit state for people to live in during the tenancy. Section 11 also puts an obligation on landlords to ensure the water, gas and electricity supplies are fit for sanitation.

Landlords have to carry out a test on their electrical equipment called a PAT test. Landlords have to ensure that any electrical appliances they supply are of a fit and proper nature. There is no specific time period given to complete a PAT test but it depends on the use of the product. This can be anywhere between a year to two years dependent on the type of property i.e. student/residential etc.

It is therefore essential for landlords to understand the regulations and have an electrician carry out the work now rather than later. We suspect that the costs of carrying out such reports will increase over a period of time. There is a limited number of electricians throughout the country. So, with all landlords having to carry these works out there is a high likelihood that costs will only increase.

After a periodic inspection an EICR report will contain details of the inspection and testing undertaken. It will also include the outcomes and any remedial action that will need to take place. There are three areas on the report outlining what work needs completing and whether it is urgent or not. The urgency definitions come under three categories.

Type 1

Dangerous. This means that the electrician would need to immediately close down the electrical facilities within the property and carry out remedial repairs on site.

Type 2

Not dangerous but require work. This means that they are not dangerous at the present time but they require work shortly to ensure that the property is safe.

Type 3

Advisory. This basically means that the work is advisory and is not essential. The work is advised for the benefit of the property in future.

This is another cost that landlords are going to have to deal with in future. EICR tests will need to be carried out every five years.

Do you provide electrical appliances? If so you are responsible to have these tested, known as a PAT test. Appliances could be anything such as a kettle, iron, washing machine, fridge freezer etc. The appliance will usually have a CE mark on it.

This is the manufacturers claim that it meets the minimum requirements for EU legislation. All appliances need to be checked for the following: –

  1. That there are no cuts or abrasions in the cable covering the sheath
    2. There are no exposed wires in the cord
    3. The plug casing is not cracked and the pins are not bent
    4. There are no signs of overheating or burning, particularly the plug and socket
    5. There are no loose parts or screws
    6. No part of the appliance is damaged or missing

The PAT test will identify the most dangerous defects in electrical appliances. We would always recommend that a PAT test be carried out by an electrician.

It would be sensible for landlords to carry out both reports now rather than later. As we have said we believe the cost will increase in future.

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