Always remember, although it is your property but it’s someone else’s home.
Landlords are responsible for the electrical safety of any property you let from the start of the tenancy. Good practice is to complete visual hazard checks to ensure all appliances are non hazardous. Burn marks around sockets and plugs, sparks emitting from appliances and exposed wires are examples that you must look out for when carrying out a visual hazard check, anything noted should be dealt with by a qualified professional.
If the property you are letting is a HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) you must have a periodic inspection carried out by a qualified electrician once every 5 years. If you are letting a property that is not a HMO you are under no legal requirement to have an inspection carried out on your property although it is highly recommended. If you do have a periodic inspection on your property you will receive an Electrical Installation Condition Report, a copy of this should be given to your tenants.
Since 2008 all UK homes must be RCD protected, an RCD is a residual current device which helps protects against dangerous electrical shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires. Landlords must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their tenants; portable appliance testing is one of the best ways of doing this. Portable appliance testing must be done each time you have new tenants in your property. In the UK 30 deaths and 4000 accidents a year are recorded due to faulty home electrics and unsafe electrical appliances.
To ensure tenants are familiar with the appliances in a property the landlord or managing agent should provide copies of all instruction manuals and safety booklets supplied with electrical appliances, this simple step helps minimise the chance of injury due to lack of knowledge.
Failure of landlords to comply with the Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1994 is a criminal offence and can result in:
- A £5000 fine
- Up to 6 months imprisonment
- Possible manslaughter charges in the event of a tenants death
It is recommended that landlords keep a written record of all electrical appliances in their property, noting condition and the fuses fitted inside the appliances. This information will be very relevant should a tenant ever injure themselves through an electrical appliance in your property.
Summary of requirements
Electrical equipment that was in the supply chain before the 1st of January 1997 which does not bear CE marking (the manufacturer’s declaration that the product meets the relevant European Directive) can be supplied provided that it satisfies the requirements of the 1989 regulations (the 1989 regulations provide that only electrical equipment which does not jeopardise the safety of people, domestic animals and property may be placed on the market).
Any equipment which came into the supply chain after the 1st of January 1997 has to comply with the 1994 regulations. For second-hand equipment and those contained in let accommodation the CE mark is not required on the appliance.
It is strongly recommended that the electrician you employ is an NICEIC approved contractor.