A quirk of lettings/housing legislation I have always found quite interesting is the requirements when it comes to Electrical Safety in rented properties. Unlike strict Gas Safety Legislation, the average landlord is not obligated to have either an Electrical Installation Safety Certificate (EICR) or a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) conducted before or during a tenancy (unless the property is a HMO but more about that later). However, a landlord is obligated to ensure he provides electrics that are safe in any rented property. So how do you ensure the electrics or appliances in a rented property are safe? You have an EICR or a PAT test completed by a qualified electrical contractor of course. But although there is no obligation to have the actual tests carried out, once a landlord does have one done, and should it come back with any C1 or C2 recommendations, then the landlord is obligated to fix these with often costly repairs. Still with me? So, no requirement to actually have a test, but you do have to ensure the property is safe and if you do have a test done and any faults are found, then you are legally obligated to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds fixing them.
Nonetheless, the powers that be in ARLA Propertymark have been lobbying for electrical safety testing to be made mandatory in all rented properties for some time, and it seems like they are getting ever closer to that goal. And so they should to be fair, every year around 70 deaths and 350,000 injuries in UK homes are caused by faulty electrics and electrical equipment. Almost half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity, and if you live in a privately rented property, statistics show that you are at a higher risk of electric shock than in owner occupied.
Although not legal statute, by not ensuring the necessary checks are completed, landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks from fines and invalidated insurance, not to mention exposing their tenants to potentially dangerous situations where they are at risk of serious accident or fire. If there is a fire in a rented property, one of the first things the fire service will do is march around to the landlord/agent and demand to see copies of an up to date gas safety certificate PLUS the EICR certificate and proof of a PAT test. If you don’t have an EICR or PAT test, you are going to be on uncertain ground. The excuse of ‘well I didn’t get one done as it wasn’t required by law to actually have a certificate’ will not hold up when you’re in court on a manslaughter charge.
In order to cover yourself and ensure the safety of your tenants, we would advise you complete the following steps;
The electrical installation and any appliances provided in your rented property are safe when your tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy’s duration. To show that you are a diligent landlord who can prove the electrics were safe and continue to be safe, you authorise a registered electrician to conduct regular EICR checks on the property (every five years to be uber compliant), PAT testing every year on any appliances you have provided and act promptly to repair in full any recommendations that are noted.
That any House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years (this one is required by law).
That any appliance provided is safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law) and the property has adequate RCD protection.
Still worried about this? CGT Lettings Ltd have several registered and trusted electricians on hand that we are able to instruct on your behalf to conduct these checks and any repair work needed. Contact us at any time for a full run down of costs or to talk to us in more depth about any of your obligations as a landlord.
Angharad Trueman – Operations Manager