Electricity not maintained safely can cause serious personal injuries, fires and damage to property and tenants’ possessions. Most electrical accidents are caused by either faulty systems and appliances (like broken plugs, damaged wires and deteriorated equipment) or by misuse of electrical appliances.
The following regulations cover the supply of electrical equipment with a working voltage of between 50 and 1000 volts;
• Low Voltage Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1989.
• Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.
With the introduction of Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, we could see strengthening and some change from the previous Regulation. However, these Regulations highlight that all electrical equipment supplied must be safe.
Even though it has not been mandatory for landlords to carry out electrical safety check, failing to make sure that electrical equipment and appliances are safe is a criminal offence. If you are planning to rent out a property, the appliances supplied should be checked for safety. Make sure new equipment have instructions on the safe use. Equipment that is not brand new will be considered ‘second hand’ as far as the tenant is concerned.
It is considered best practice to have electrical systems formally checked and tested every five years in a similar way to gas safety checks. This is also likely to be made mandatory in due course under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will a mandatory five-year electrical installation checks on private rented housing in England soon be introduced. The implementation date need to be clarified. The MHCLG has stated its intention to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. Properties that already have a valid electrical installation condition report (EICR) will not need to replace it until five years have passed since it was issued. The requirement is likely to be that the Landlord will be required to obtain a Certificate from the qualified person confirming that the electrical safety standards are met.
Make sure that before you hire any inspectors to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), hold the correct qualifications and are competent to carry out the inspection. There is likely to be a financial penalty where this doesn’t comply with the duty imposed by the Regulations.