This section covers electrical installations and appliances and the duties and responsibilities placed on you as the landlord. There are a number of regulations governing electrical safety and these include: Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Consumer Protection Act 1987, Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and Building Regulations 2000. Essentially you must ensure that the fixed installation and all electrical appliances supplied by the landlord are safe.
You must ensure that the electrical installation and all electrical appliances are ‘safe’ with little risk of injury or death to humans, or risk of damage to property. This applies throughout the life of the tenancy and includes all mains voltage household electric goods supplied by the landlord such as cookers, kettles, toasters, electric blankets, washing machines etc. Any equipment supplied should be marked with the appropriate CE symbol.
Appliances you supply should either be new or checked by a qualified electrician before the property is let. All paperwork regarding the item (i.e. receipts, warranties, certificates of inspection) should be kept for a minimum period of six years.
One way of helping to achieve safety is to undertake a regular formal inspection of the installation and appliances on an annual basis.
The Electrical Safety Council advises that best practice you should:
• Check the condition of wiring, burn marks or any other obvious fault or damage
• Check that the correct type and rating of fuses are installed where these are re-wireable
• Ensure all supplied appliances are checked by a competent person at suitable periods and that any unsafe items are removed from the property. Record details of all electrical appliances, including their condition and fuse rating
• Ensure that instruction booklets are available at the property for all appliances and that any necessary safety warnings are given to tenants
• Avoid purchasing second-hand electrical appliances for rented properties that may not be safe and energy efficient
• Maintain records of all checks carried out.
Although there is no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical installations and appliances as there is with gas, the Institution of Electrical Engineers recommends a formal periodic inspection and test being carried out on the installation at least once every ten years or on a change of tenancy. It may be appropriate that where the risk is found to be greater, for instance where the installation is very old or where damage is regularly found, a more frequent regime will be necessary. Moreover, given your obligations under the HHSRS it is almost forced upon you to have this done.
This periodic inspection and testing should only be undertaken by someone competent to do such work. On completion, a Periodic Inspections Report should be issued by the person carrying out the work and this should be retained by you as the landlord.
The regulations relating to electrical installations fall into two categories: existing installations and new work.
New work: The design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations is controlled under Part P of the Building Regulations which applies to houses and flats and includes gardens and outbuildings such as sheds, garages and greenhouses.
All work that involves adding a new circuit or is to be carried out in bathrooms and kitchens will need to be either carried out by an installer registered with a government-approved competent person scheme or alternatively notified to Building Control before the work takes place. Generally, small jobs such as the provision of a socket-outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit will not be notified to the local authority Building Control. High-risk areas such as bathrooms and kitchens are exceptions. All work that involves adding a new circuit or in bathrooms and kitchens will need to be either notified to Building Control with a Building Regulations application, or carried out by a competent person who is registered with a Part P Self-Certification Scheme. More details can be found in ‘Approved Document P’ published by the DCLG and in their guidance leaflet ‘Rules for Electrical Safety in the Home’.
On completion of any new electrical installation work an ‘Electrical Installation Certificate’ or ‘Minor Works Form’ should be issued by the electrician or installer carrying out the work and this should be retained by you, the landlord.
For further information about electrical safety and the competency of electricians and installers to carry out new work or undertake the formal periodic inspection and test of an existing installation, click here.
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