Landlords – what do you need to know about changes to electrical safety laws?

by Jason McClean

15:34 PM, 11th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Landlords – what do you need to know about changes to electrical safety laws?

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Landlords – what do you need to know about changes to electrical safety laws?

Landlords have the responsibility of keeping their tenants safe and electrical safety is a big part of this. In order to avoid fines and protect your tenants, be aware of changes to the latest legislation.electrical

Failure to keep electrical equipment such as light switches, microwaves and fuse boxes safe and in good condition can lead to fines, bans and even imprisonment.

Landlords in Scotland will soon be required to provide regular electrical installation condition report to tenants and it is expected that the new change will be subsequently implemented in England as well.

A spokesperson for Discount Landlord said: “Landlords have a responsibility to take care of their tenants and must ensure that their properties are in safe condition. Landlord insurance can assist against unforeseen damages, but it is important that the property is maintained.”

Here are the facts and changes that landlords need to know:

  1. Any electrical equipment that landlords provide must have a safety kite mark such as the CE logo which shows that a product meets EU standards.
  2. Landlords must also only use a registered electrician. There can be additional rules depending on where your BTL is located in the UK.
  3. Landlords in England and Wales are required to provide electrical installation certificates to show new equipment is safe but there is not a legal requirement to have it regularly inspected.
  4. Landlords must respond to any requests for repairs under the Landlord and Tenant Act and a claim could also be brought under the Consumer Protection Act if a property is found to be unsafe.
  5. A tenant who reports concerns about electrical equipment to the local council would lead to an enforcement officer visiting the property and making an order for changes. Failure to make the changes could result in fines or bans and will make it harder to evict a tenant.
  6. Landlords in Scotland Landlords must now have a compulsory Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) conducted every five years as a result of changes to The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
  7. Any tenant moving in from 1st December 2015 must be provided with Electrical Installation Certificates for any new fixtures or fittings that are installed. These can be obtained from a fully registered electrician. They must also provide a Portable Appliance Test for movable objects such as microwaves.
  8. Existing tenants must receive a copy of the EICR by 1st December 2016.

The charity Electrical Safety First has put together a checklist or landlords to monitor the equipment they provide. It can be accessed here: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/mediafile/100114761/Landlords-Interim-Checklist-2014.pdf

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Comments

Neil Patterson

15:36 PM, 11th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Thank you for the update Jason we were missing one for electrical safety 🙂

Jim Fox

11:12 AM, 12th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Does that mean that from 1/12/2015 landlords must have fridge freezers and washing machines PAT tested, and supply a copy of the test certificate to new tenants?

Tony Atkins

12:10 PM, 12th November 2015
About 3 years ago

A new EICR and PAT every time a landlord buys a toaster or a microwave? Easy-peasy work for electricians, and what a ludicrous waste of time and cash for the landlord: £10 to buy a new toaster, and what, £80 for an EICR and PAT test? Or am I misunderstanding something here?

Why are these requirements made only of rented property, but not of owner-occupied? Surely if the rationale is one of safety, it should be required of all householders.

I take it these regulations only apply for *new* equipment purchased new or second-hand and installed after 1 December 2015, and not existing equipment?

Dave Princep

12:52 PM, 12th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Unfortunately there is a degree of - as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) say - "scaremongering" in this article and a blurring of the significant difference between electrical installation and electrical equipment.

Item 2 & 3 are not correct, Landlord and Tenants Act does not apply to equipment. There is little that a Council can do to deal with electrical equipment although a dangerous electrical installation would be actionable, Item 7 & 8 applies to Scotland only.

Landlords do need to make sure their premises and any equipment they provide is safe and many landlords are no longer providing any electrical equipment, in order to prevent any risk.

I would recommend that landlords read the HSE guidance on general electrical safety. Their advice is generally pragmatic and proportionate (See their advice on Legionella to see the difference between what some contractors will advise & the actual guidance.)

Recardo Knights

13:26 PM, 12th November 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with Tony, Nanny and elf & safety. My wife does not like electricity and if there is a cracked socket or light switch, she will not go near it.
I've had tenants leave after breaking/damaging switches and sockets without telling me they broke it.
so any certificate is like an mot, tested today and only good for today tomorrow the lights or brakes may fail.
If the cable, consumer board, and fittings look good they probable are and a certificate now does not mean it is good next month, if tenants overload socket with extension leads etc.

Claire Smith

16:57 PM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Sorry if I am being silly, but do we have to have PAT tests every year or not? All our properties have been checked and certificates received, but the cost of PAT testing could be prohibitive (especially in a student property where we supply lots of electrical items for the kitchen)

Gary Nock

14:26 PM, 15th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Don't worry folks. Annual EICRs apply to Scotland at the moment. And be careful who does it. I have just had two done on houses 30 years old and the electrician says they both need rewiring at 3k each. Another electrician came along and out the faults right for £300 and issued a minor works form.

Roanch 21

11:12 AM, 26th November 2015
About 3 years ago

8.Existing tenants must receive a copy of the EICR by 1st December 2016.

Is this correct? I didn't know about this? How up to date does this EICR need to be? What happens if the EICR doesn't report a Pass?

I only ever let unfurnished and never portable appliances. But I do supply freestanding cooker and fridge - are these portable? There is an immersion heater and night storage radiators.

My concern is that my tenants often have all sorts of crappy electrical equipment all on extension leads and sockets, sometimes wires stuck in the socket with no plug. Does the EICR comment on these? Do I end up paying for the electrician to report on all this?

What would happen if the tenant damaged the electrical installation?

Frank Sutcliffe

7:16 AM, 10th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Princep" at "12/11/2015 - 12:52":

I've got electrical reports on Scottish property that give me lots of "C2" ratings and expensive repairs. Read the guidance and it would seem it all houses not recently built or rewired will get "C2" ranked items.

Electriciant says do the lot now, the regulations are not clear (C2 are "recommations") and long standing tenants say not convenient.

Two questions; are C2 items mandatory? If they are is there a deadline for doing 'em? Any idea where I get answers?

Gary Nock

11:26 AM, 10th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Frank

The classifications are:

C1 - Danger present. Risk of injury. Imminent remedial action required.

C2 Potentially dangerous. Urgent remedial action required.

C3 Improvement Recommended.

Its not mandated in law in terms of " you must have a valid electrical certificate". But under the Electrical Equipment Regulations 1994 you must make sure the installation is safe. So if you have a C1 and or a C2 and a tenant gets fried then how do you explain it to the HSE? In terms of getting it done theres no time scale set out but defects reported to local authorities are normally expected to be done in 14 days. Which if its a C1 is too long. But a C2 is probably reasonable.

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