Currently, the legal obligations of a landlord relating to electrical equipment and electrical systems can be classified as a grey area. Unlike the Gas Safety Regulations that legally stipulates that you are obliged to get a gas certification every year for rental properties, no law exists that requires you to carry out annual electrical safety checks.
However, various regulations exist and clearly state that all electrical equipments and systems must be safely installed and maintained. Failing to comply with this requirement is considered as a criminal offence that can lead to prosecution and penalties.
Some possible penalties include invalidation of the property insurance, a fine on the item that has not complied, imprisonment for a period of at least 6 months, manslaughter charges in case of deaths and a civil suit by tenants in the event of damages. To avoid legal tussles, you can follow the tips provided below.
Relevant safety regulations
It is your obligation as a landlord to ensure the safety of all the electrical systems and equipment. Section 11 of the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act states that the landlord must repair and make sure all the electricity installations are working properly.
Other relevant rules that safeguard the safety electrical appliances include the 1994 Electrical Equipment Regulations, the 2004 Housing Act, the 1994 Plugs and Sockets Regulations and the 1987 Consumer Protection Act. One thing clearly stipulated by the law is that a qualified and competent electrician must carry out all the installation work. You can get an electrician who has a government approved certification and is properly trained in electrical safety compliance.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
Portable Appliances testing refers to the process of routinely checking the safety of all electrical appliances. Any items that are plugged in, such as computers, printers, kettles, speakers and cables fall in this category. Though you are not mandated by the law to carry out a PAT, it is advisable to acquire this certification because it proves that the appliance was okay when the tenant rented the property.
In case they later on sue for damages, you can use the PAT certification to defend the safety of your property in the courts. Remember to engage a professional in the routine checkups.
It is recommended that you properly maintain all the electrical systems and equipment to minimise risks and dangers. To determine if any maintenance is required, you need a qualified electrician to carry out regular electrical safety compliance tests in Westcliff and inspections on all the electrical systems and appliances. Frequency of this exercise is determined by various factors, such as the environment, users and the type of equipment.
For instance, if the tenants report any damage that may pose a risk to them, you must immediately engage a Westcliff based electrician to carry out an inspection and the necessary maintenance. During an inspection, you might find an illegal installation that may pose a risk to tenants. Other safety procedures that you can follow to minimise hazards include: using standard sockets and plugs and issuing safety warnings and operating instructions to tenants for communal appliances.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
If your property is a HMO, the law stipulates that you must carry out an inspection on all appliances and get a PAT certification. According to the HMO Management Standards Regulations, every electrical installation on the property must be tested and inspected every year by a qualified electrician, who then issues the PAT certificate. Ensure you check with your local authority because the requirements for HMOs differ from one region to another.
All the work we carry out is Part P approved, fully insured and fully guaranteed. If you are a landlord looking to enquire about some electrical work, give us a call on 01702 952 951 or fill out our handy contact form for a call-back when it suits you.