Electrical Safety in Rented Accommodation

If you’re a landlord, you have a responsibility to make sure that the electrical appliances in your property are safe for use. There are around four thousand accidents every year in the UK that involve electrics, so it’s important that you are aware of the measures that should be taken to protect your tenants’ safety. The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 states that all electrical equipment should be safe for use at the beginning of a tenancy and maintained throughout.

The Legal Consequences

The legal consequences for failing to comply with the 1985 act are serious. If something goes wrong and your tenant is injured or killed due to a failure on your part to correctly maintain electrical appliances, you will be held responsible. Failure to comply with EU safety regulations will result in a fine of £5,000 per item, six months imprisonment, civil damages if you’re sued by the tenant, an invalidation of your property insurance, and in the event of death, possible manslaughter charges.

Managing Electrical Risk

Make sure you provide your tenants with copies of the operating and safety instructions for all electrical equipment. It’s a good idea to make regular visits to the property so that you can undertake visual inspections. Just make sure that you inform your tenant ahead of time so that your visit is convenient. Periodic safety inspections should be carried out by a registered electrician and done using a PAT tester than conforms to EU safety standards. For more information about PAT testing equipment, contact a specialist provider like PASS.

Your Checklist

You should make sure that the electrical safety system your property uses is compliant with the latest wiring regulations and that a circuit breaker (also known as an RCD) is fitted to power circuits. In terms of appliances, it’s better to have fewer appliances so that circuits don’t become overloaded. It’s also a good idea to keep the receipts from appliance purchases and provide the operating instructions and safety warning notices with the appliances. All earth tags should be in place and flexes should be in good order. If a flex looks frayed or not fully attached to the plug or appliance, it is unsafe. All plugs should be of the approved type, with the live and neutral pins encase in a sleeve. It’s a good idea to make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory, so that you and the tenant are both aware. You should also ensure that your tenant knows the location of the main consumer unit, fuse box and isolator switch, and is able to access this if things go wrong.

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