There are a number of pieces of legislation that relate to electrical safety in the private rental sector, including the Housing Act 2004, the Consumer Protection Act 1987, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
These regulations compel landlords to take steps to ensure that their property portfolio is safe and that electrical appliances and fittings do not pose a risk to their tenants, visitors and the general public.
Landlords who are found to breach these regulations could receive:
- A fine of up to £5,000 per non-compliant item, and
- Up to six months’ imprisonment.
Furthermore, if a tenant is injured by electrical installations or appliances that came with the property, then they could make a personal injury claim against their landlord, and could potentially secure hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation.
Insurance agencies may reassess and revoke a landlord’s cover or invalidate their policy should they determine that the landlord kept the property in an unsafe manner. If a tenant suffers an electrocution that proves fatal, landlords could even face manslaughter charges.
Therefore, landlords have the following legal requirements:
- Ensure light fittings, plug sockets and any other electrical installations comply with the Building Regulations, Part P,
- Ensure all electrical appliances supplied with the property, from irons to refrigerators, have a CE mark demonstrating that they conform with European safety standards and have a PAT test to demonstrate that they have been tested and are safe, and
- For houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), arrange electrical safety checks every five years.
Landlords’ electrical safety requirements in Scotland
Landlords in Scotland must arrange electrical safety inspections for all their residential property portfolio every five years – in England and Wales, this requirement only exists for HMOs. This is due to the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.
Furthermore, landlords with properties in Scotland must:
- Keep a record of the electrical inspection report for six years,
- Use the results of electrical inspections to bring homes up to safe standards, and
- Provide a copy of this report to their tenants after the inspection has been completed or at the beginning of a tenancy.
Electrical safety in rented accommodation
Unlike homeowners, landlords are legally required to ensure that their property’s electrical systems are safe. Nonetheless, tenants in the private rented sector suffer a disproportionate number of electrical injuries –research has found that while 16% of Brits live in privately rented houses, these people suffer 20% of all electric shocks.
How can landlords comply with these regulations?
Although electrical safety regulations surrounding rental accommodation in England and Wales is less stringent than gas safety regulations, landlords can still experience serious problems should their property be discovered to be unsafe or should a tenant suffer an injury due to their negligence. Accordingly, we recommend that landlords:
- Ensure that their property portfolio’s electricity supply has RCD protection
- Only use Part P electricians for all work relating to electrical installations
- Arrange electrical safety checks on fittings and appliances at least every five years.
Take out our landlord emergency protection plan to ensure your tenants receive immediate responses when there is an electrical emergency or breakdown! We respond to all emergencies in under 24 hours, so landlords can keep their tenants happy and their properties safe without any hassle and without breaking the bank. Just give us a call on 0345 3192 247 to find out more!
Want to save money? No problem.
If you’re having trouble with any aspect of your boiler, home appliances or if you’re suffering from a home emergency such as an electrical breakdown, plumbing problem or security issue then be sure to get in touch with us.
You can face a hefty bill if something goes wrong at home so eliminate the possibility and speak to us today.
Call us on 0345 3192 247 and one of our friendly technical team will go through some simple diagnostics to see if your problem can be resolved over the phone. If not, we’ll send an engineer to be with you as soon as possible to ensure you’re back up and running in no time.