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Electrical safety for rental property

Landlords obviously have a responsibility for the electrical safety in their buy-to-let properties. They do in fact have a duty of care to their tenants. The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 requires that the electrical equipment is safe at the start of every tenancy and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. To find out more about the responsibility of a landlord for electrical safety in their buy-to-let. The chances of an accident involving the electrics in your property are thankfully small, but it does happen. There were approximately 30 deaths last year caused by faulty electrical supplies.

Electrical appliances

I was recently contacted by one Property Hawk user wanting some clarification on his legal responsibilities over the replacement of a new electric hob. There is currently no actual requirement for a landlord to have an annual electrical safety inspection, unlike the way a landlord is required to have for the gas appliances in their property.
As this was the ‘replacement’ of an existing hob, the work doesn’t come under the legislation covered by Part P of the Building Regulations.This bit of EU inspired legislation means that even installing a ‘new’ electrical socket in your buy-to-let would need it installed by a ‘competent person’, which effectively means that they need to be a member of one of the trade organisations such as the NICEIC. If you don’t have it installed by a ‘competent person’ you would have to go to all the extra expense of making an application to your local authority under the building regulations.

Testing your electrical appliances

A landlord does need to ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe – failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in:
• A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
• Six month’s imprisonment
• Possible manslaughter charges in the even of deaths
• The Tenant may also sue you for civil damages
• Your property insurance may be invalidated

These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive.

Personally, I’ve never had any appliances PAT tested in my buy-to-let properties on the basis I don’t consider it is required for myself or my families’ safety. I very much believe in providing accommodation to a level I would expect to live in myself. Some letting agents suggest that regular PAT testing is advisable. Currently, there is no legal requirement for this and most landlords probably adopt my approach. It would be interesting to hear other landlords thoughts on this topic so feel free to post your comments or go to our landlord legal forum
to discuss the issue.

For more info on electrical safety in your buy-to-let:

FREE Electrical safety guidance downloads

FREE Part P of the Building Regulation download

Details of PAT testing

Electrical safety – a landlords’ responsibility

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