Law guide: Property

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Electrical safety

Electrical safety

Contents

The landlord is responsible for making sure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances supplied for tenants' use are safe to use (even if they use an agent).

For landlords in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there's no legal requirement to carry out an electrical safety check before the tenancy starts or yearly (unlike a gas safety check – see Gas Safety certificate). But you're recommended to carry out the electrical inspections set out below.

Landlords in Scotland must carry out electrical safety checks of all installations, fixtures and fittings and provide a copy of the report to tenants before their tenancy starts. The report will last for 5 years before another safety check must be performed. Houses in multiple occupation must perform electrical safety checks on all electrical equipment at least once every 3 years.

A qualified electrician should carry out any electrical installation, safety inspection or tests. You can find contractors and businesses registered with NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting), or check that a contractor is registered, via the NICEIC website.

Electrical system and electrical appliances

The property should have:

  • An adequate number of sockets in each room
  • A safe electrical installation (certified with an electrical test certificate issued by an accredited electrician)
  • Safe electrical appliances (for example, cooker, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer, immersion heater, kettle, toaster, and other appliances supplied at the property)

Inspections and safety checks

You (or your agent) are recommended to have the following inspections and checks carried out:

  • An inspection before a new tenancy starts to record electrical equipment, its condition and fuses fitted.
  • Regular visual inspections (at least yearly) and keep a record on a safety checklist.
  • Periodic checks of electrical equipment, carried out by a qualified electrician (unless the property is in Scotland).
  • A 5-yearly inspection by a qualified electrician to check safety and make sure that the electrical system complies with current electrical regulations. This is compulsory for properties in Scotland.

You should keep a record of all inspections and safety checks. Copies of an electrical test certificate should be made available to your tenants. This is compulsory for properties in Scotland.

You're also recommended to:

  • Keep operating instructions for appliances and provide instruction booklets for new appliances (and older appliances where possible)
  • Renew or replace any worn flexes to appliances
  • Avoid buying second-hand appliances (that could be defective or near the end of their working life)