Electrical Safety Legislation

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There is no statutory requirement to have rented property formally inspected for electrical safety at set periods but a landlord is required to provide a dwelling that is safe…
The electrical safety laws affecting landlords letting property include:
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
The Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994
The Consumer Protection Act 1987
The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1994
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (this Act inflicts an implied liability on letting agents and those who gain from self employment, as is the case with most landlords)

Some of these regulations only effect letting agents and those who rent property commercially or for business. There is debate about whether individual landlords letting a single dwelling without an agent must comply with all of them. However, as failing to comply can result in fines of up to £5000 per offence, up to six months’ imprisonment, being sued by the tenant for civil damages and, in the event of a death occurring, possible manslaughter charges, it is better to observe them and feel confident that your letting is legal and lawful to your fullest extent.
A wise landlord will employ a qualified electrician for an initial and further periodic inspections, producing a test report which can later be attached to the inventory. Ideally, the inspection should be carried out prior to each tenancy commencing, or at least annually. To become compliant, the following are recommended:
  • Check that all appliance manuals, instructions, safety notices and labels are available so that copies can be issued to tenants.
  • Have a qualified electrician check that all appliances are safely wired and operate properly.
  • Do not buy second-hand electrical goods unless you can prove they are safe and have the appropriate instructions.
  • Check that appliances have no damaged, worn or loose cables and that plugs are securely fitted and properly fused.
  • Check that plugs and sockets conform to BS1363 or BS1363/A.
  • Make certain that appropriate appliances are earthed.
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect the property wiring (power and lighting), earthing, sockets, switches and fusing system, to ensure they meet current regulations and operate properly.
  • Remember to inspect all areas of the property, including any attic or loft space, garage, outbuilding, shed and garden, and any appliances in then.
See also: Acts and Regulations to view and download these and other Regulations

3 Comments

  1. katalan

    I had my properties inspected by an appropriately qualified electrician. In both cases the earthing was inadequate. One property also needed a new consumer unit. Expensive but it buys peace of mind.
    If the tenant plugs in some dodgy equipment and gets electrocuted and a subsequent enquiry finds your electrics are not up to current specs who do you think the authorities will find responsible?

    Reply
    • Nick Morphet

      I’m having a similar issue. A non compulsory electrical inspection of a property I’m buying to let identified that the gas and water pipes weren’t earthed. Getting the gas earthed cost me £20 but getting the water earthed is going to cost me £190. The letting agency are happy to let the property with the water unearthed but I’m inclined to think that I have no option but to get the work done. If someone gets electrocuted I imagine I’ll be held responsible – even more so because I knew about the problem. And I hear that new rules might be coming in (compulsory electrical checks)? So it’s got to be worth sorting these problems in advance hasn’t it?

      Reply
  2. edward rutland

    LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL HAS BROUGHT IN CITY WIDE LEGISLATION FOR COMPULSORY LANDLORD LICENCES,EACH PROPERTY WILL COST ME 400 POUNDS PER LICENCE,WITH A FINE OF UP TO 20,000 POUNDS FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY,…WHERE THE FIGURE OF 400 POUNDS PER HOUSE COMES FROM I HAVE NO IDEA,AND NO EXPLANATION IS FORTH COMING FROM THE COUNCIL…CAN THIS BE CHALLENGED,I KNOW OF NO OTHER COUNCIL WHO HAVE BROUGHT IN A CITY WIDE LICENCING SCHEME,ANY COMMENTS??

    Reply

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