Are you a landlord? Unsure what you need to do to fulfil your legal obligations concerning electrical safety in the home? We look at some of the key safety checks you need to consider.
- It is law for landlords of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) to have a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years. There is no law that states a landlord must perform annual electrical safety checks, however there is an obligation to ensure that the rental property, and any electrical equipment provided, is safe before a tenancy begins and throughout its duration.
- All electrical installations must be safely carried out by a qualified electrician and safely maintained in accordance with the Part P Building Regulations which covers electrical safety in dwellings. This means all electrical installations undertaken in a home must by law comply with these regulations and the work carried out by a Part P competent person (electrician).
- Communal areas – A landlord is also responsible for the communal areas of a house, block of flats, or an estate that residents use in common with other tenants.
Every electrical installation and appliance deteriorates with use and age. You must ensure that your tenant(s) – or anyone entering or using your property – are not put at risk, by ensuring that the electrical installation and appliances remain in a safe and serviceable condition.
Top tips to keep risks to a minimum:
1. Carry out a regular visual check.
Over time, and with the wear and tear of regular use, the installation will start to deteriorate. Things to look out for include:
broken accessories (such as sockets and light switches)
- signs of scorching around sockets due to overloading
- overheating of electrical equipment (such as lamp holders fitted with the wrong lamps) – usually detected by a strong, often fishlike, smell
- damaged cables to portable electrical appliances or trailing cables/flexes.
- manual test of any installed RCDs
2. Carry out regular periodic inspections.
This checks the condition of an existing electrical installation against the UK safety of electrical installations standards BS 7671. For rented property, the maximum period recommended between inspections is 5 years or at the end of a tenancy, whichever comes first. A periodic inspection should:
- discover if electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
- identify potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards
- find any defective electrical work
- highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
After a periodic inspection, you should be given an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) containing details of the inspection and testing undertaken, the outcomes of the inspection and testing with recommendations as to what remedial action (if any) is required, and a declaration of whether or not the installation is safe for continued use along with the next recommended date for subsequent inspections.
3. Carry out regular safety checks on the electrical appliances provided as part of the rental agreement.
Things to check for include:
there are no cuts or abrasions in the cable covering (sheath)
- the outer covering of the cable is gripped by the cord grip in the plug top, so that no coloured cable cores are visible from the outside of the plug
- the plug has no cracked casing or bent pins
- there are no signs of overheating or burning, particularly at the plug and socket
- there are no loose parts or screws
- no part of the appliance is damaged or missing
the appliance has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law)
General rule of thumb: Manage your property well and the risks are minimal, but manage it badly and risks are high.
For help and advice on how to ensure you are complying with all electrical safety obligations, call Norcroft Energy now on 01226 763127. We carry out electrical safety checks including PAT testing for a number of landlords in the Yorkshire region.