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Landlords and Electrical Safety

Landlords and Electrical Safety: What Are the Rules?

Whether you are just starting out as a landlord or you are an old pro, continued changes in legislation mean it’s hard to keep up with the rules and regulations of property letting.

Many landlords are aware that gas safety testing is essential for properties that have a gas supply. But you might wonder what the situation is with regard to electrical safety checks.

Indeed, this is one area of legislation where the rules have changed in the last couple of years. It used to be that electricity was an under-regulated area in residential rentals, but that is no longer the case.

Since December 2016, it has become law for landlords to ensure that any electrical equipment in a property is safe and fit for purpose. The changes in the legislation include the following points:-

  • Landlords must ensure that electrical equipment conforms with the obligations of the manufacturer. This means that landlords are obliged to use equipment from trusted and regulated manufacturers, whose workmanship has passed safety checks.
  • Landlords must check that all electrical equipment bears the CE mark and comes with instructions and safety information that can be understood by consumers. The instructions for all appliances and equipment in the UK must be available in English.
  • Landlords must remove or make unavailable any electrical equipment that does not bear the appropriate labels and marks, does not come from a reliable manufacturer and is not supplied with instructions.
  • If risks are found to be posed by an electrical item, then the manufacturer, importer (if relevant) and the market surveillance authority must be made aware.

While, strictly speaking, the law concerns appliances made since December 2016 only, it’s good practice to have all your electrical appliances checked regularly in your rental properties. After all, surely it is the older appliances and systems that are actually likely to cause more problems. Annual checks will help to ensure not only that your tenants’ appliances continue to work, but could also mean that you avoid costly repairs caused by damage in the event of an appliance or wiring fault.

Even more important than this is tenant safety. Did you know that there are around 30 deaths and 4000 accidents annually in the UK as a result of electrical problems?

A major consideration here should be your conscience, if anything were to go wrong. But, in addition, landlords can be fined up to £5000, receive up to 6 months’ imprisonment and even face manslaughter charges if harm is caused to tenants as a result of negligence – i.e. if electrical goods and systems have not been maintained to an appropriate standard at a property. This is not to mention the possibility of being sued by tenants or being unable to claim on insurance for costly repairs.

Julie Twist Properties offers annual PAT (portable appliance test) checks and electrical mains tests to clients, which are carried out by our in-house qualified electrical engineers. Not sure when your property’s electrics were last checked? Then why not contact the maintenance team today to discuss your requirements?

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