Landlord guide to electrical safety

electrician home

The government is pretty clear about electrical safety: as a landlord, you’re obliged to ensure all electrical appliances and installations you supply are safe. How you are to interpret these obligations is less clear-cut… This guide aims to give you some practical advice on making sure your rental property meets electrical safety standards.

By law, you must make sure:

  1. All electrical installations (e.g. sockets and light fittings) are safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout the duration of the tenancy
  2. All electrical appliances you supply, e.g. cookers and kettles, are safe and have (at a minimum) the CE marking.
  3. A periodic inspection and test is carried out by a registered electrician every five years (only legally required if the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

It’s strongly advised that you:

  1. Commission regular electrical tests on all electrical installations (see ‘Periodic Inspections’ section below)
  2. Only use registered electricians, even for small jobs. This makes sure you comply with Part P building regulations
  3. Ensure your property has sufficient RCD (residual current device) protection
  4. Carry out regular visual safety checks
  5. Carry out PAT tests (portable appliance tests) on any appliances you supply (more information below)

Take Note

The above measures aren’t legal obligations, but they are best practice as advised by Electrical Safety First. But you don’t want to be known as the landlord who only just meets government safety standards and nothing more.

Top Tip

Search for registered electricians through Electrical Safety First.

Top Tip

Download the Electrical Safety First app. It can help you conduct quick visual safety checks yourself.

 


Periodic inspections

What is a “periodic inspection”?

Inspection and testing to check whether electrical installations are in a satisfactory condition.

Who can do it?

The regulations call for “electrically competent persons” to conduct these inspections. But don’t just get your mate Gary to do it – we strongly recommend you use a registered electrician.

How often should it be done?

If the property is an HMO, you must have one every 5 years. If your property isn’t an HMO, it’s still advisable to have one every 5 years, or between tenancies – whichever comes sooner.

Take Note

If the change of tenancy occurs within a short period of time (e.g. no more than 6 months) then you won’t need a full inspection, a visual safety check should suffice

How much will it cost?

Around £150 is pretty common.

Do I need to keep a record?

Once the inspection has been completed you will be given an Electrical Condition Report (EICR). It’s a good idea to hang on to these.

 


Portable Appliance Test (PAT) 

What is a “Portable Appliance Test”?

Visual inspection of portable electrical appliances, as well as their plugs and leads. Testing of “class 1” equipment will also involve injecting testing signals to ensure integrity.

Who can do it?

“Electrically competent persons” such as registered electricians.

How often should a PAT test be done?

There’s no specific guidance on how often you should carry out PAT testing. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises you take a risk-based approach. Check high-risk items more often – things like kettles and microwaves which are heavily used and often moved around.

How much will it cost?

It depends how many appliances need testing. Some companies charge by the hour, while some charge £1-2 per appliance.

Do I need to keep a record?

Once the inspection has been completed you will be given an Electrical Condition Report (EICR). It’s a good idea to hang on to these.

 


Most of the information in this guide was sourced from Electrical Safety First. Where another source was used, we have provided a link. To find out about your other obligations as a landlord, check out our landlord obligations checklist. Thanks for reading.

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