Rented properties should be tested every five years
Following the recent tragic death of a mother of two, who was electrocuted while running a bath, the Electrical Safety Council is calling on landlords and tenants to undertake basic but essential checks to ensure their rented homes are electrically safe. Each year there are over 30 deaths and nearly 4000 injuries from electricity in UK homes.
The Electrical Safety Council, the charity committed to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents in the UK, recommends that the electrical installation in rented properties is tested at least every five years.
“This is a dreadful incident,” comments Phil Buckle, director general of the Electrical Safety Council. “Landlords have a legal obligation to make sure that the electrical installation in their rented properties is safe. An inspection of the electrical installation by a registered electrician, known as a ‘Periodic Inspection’, checks for any lack of earthing or bonding and can identify potential dangers. Tenants should ask to see a copy of the Period Inspection Report before moving into a rented property to check that the electric installation has been confirmed as safe for use.”
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has published a new guide – the Landlords’ Guide to Electrical Safety – as part of its campaign to improve electrical safety in privately rented accommodation.
The guide aims to help landlords understand their responsibilities for electrical safety in rental properties and offers practical advice on the actions required to meet their legal obligations and help keep tenants safe and. It also includes information on electrical certification, when it is required and who can carry out electrical work.
“The ESC receives a lot of queries from landlords who are confused about the legal requirements for electrical safety in rented properties. So we’ve put together the Landlords’ Guide to Electrical Safety with the aim of providing landlords with straightforward and comprehensive advice. We hope that this will help to answer their questions, clear up any confusion and ultimately improve electrical safety in the privately rented sector,” explains Buckle.
The guide, which is supported by LACORS, highlights each area of legislation relevant to landlords in the private rented sector, including:
• Landlords and Tenant Act 1985
• Housing Act 2004
• Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Wales) Regulations 2006
• Part P of the Building Regulations
• Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
• Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
The guide provides comprehensive information on the key features of each item of legislation and advice on what landlords must do to ensure their rental properties are complying with the law.
The Landlords’ Guide to Electrical Safety also contains practical guidance about maintaining the electrical installation and any electrical appliances supplied in a property. The key activities a responsible landlord should undertake on a regular basis include:
- Visual checks of the electrical installation (ie. the wires, sockets, switches, fusebox, light fittings) – highlighting what to look for that may indicate a safety issue.
- Periodic inspection testing - what it covers, recommendations for when it is required (for rented accommodation, the ESC recommends that it should be done on change of tenancy or at least every five years) and how to read a periodic inspection report.
- Portable appliances – recommendations for ensuring that they are safe for use, how to conduct visual safety checks, as well as detailed guidance about recommended frequency of inspection and portable appliance testing for different types of appliances.
- Fire alarms and emergency lighting – covering system selection, testing and maintenance, and recommendations for lighting of escape routes for various categories of residential premises.
As well as working with landlords, the ESC will also be targeting tenants in privately rented homes – particularly students and migrant communities. This aspect of the campaign aims to raise tenants’ awareness of their landlord’s legal obligations and to highlight what tenants can do themselves to improve electrical safety in their rented home.
Electrical and Mechanical Contractor