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Electrical Safety and Electrical Goods

2.8 Electrical Safety and Electrical Goods

Again, landlords should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities
in relation to electrical installations and appliances and the duties and
responsibilities placed on a landlord by the following regulations:

• Landlord and Tenant Act 1985;
• Consumer Protection Act 1987;
• Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994;
• Building Regulations 2000.

Legislation places obligations on landlords to ensure that all electrical
appliances supplied by the landlord are safe at the date of supply.

2.8.1 Landlords’ Duties and Responsibilities

Landlords need to ensure that the electrical installation and all electrical
appliances are ‘safe’ with little risk of injury or death to humans, or risk of damage to property. This includes all mains voltage household electric
goods supplied by the landlord such as cookers, kettles, toasters, electric
blankets, washing machines etc. Any new equipment supplied must also
be marked with the appropriate CE marking (Conformité Européene /
Declaration of Conformity).

In order to meet these obligations either supply new appliances or get any
appliances provided checked by a qualified electrician before the property
is let to new tenants. All paperwork regarding the items (i.e. receipts,
warranties, records of inspection) should be kept for a minimum period of
six years.

One way of helping to achieve safety is to undertake a regular formal
inspection of the installation and appliances on an annual basis. The
Electrical Safety Council advises that as a minimum, landlords should:

• check the condition of wiring, and check for badly fitted plugs,
cracks and chips in casings, charring, burn marks or any other
obvious fault or damage;

• check that the correct type and rating of fuses are installed;

• ensure all supplied appliances are checked by a competent
person at suitable periods and that any unsafe items are
removed from the property. Record details of all electrical
appliances, including their condition and fuse rating;

• ensure that instruction booklets are available at the property
for all appliances and that any necessary safety warnings are
given to tenants;

• avoid purchasing second-hand electrical appliances for rented
properties that may not be safe; and

• maintain records of all checks carried out.

Although there is no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks
on electrical installations as there is with gas, The Institution of Electrical
Engineers recommends a formal periodic inspection and test being carried
out on the installation at least once every 10 years or on a change of
tenancy.

There is, however, a statutory requirement that all HMOs (both licensable
and not licensable) must have their mains installation inspected every five
years, by a person qualified to undertake such inspection and testing and a
certificate provided by that person specifying the results of the test.

It may also be appropriate that where any risk is found to be enhanced, for
example where an installation is old or where damage is regularly found, a
more frequent inspection regime will be necessary.

Periodic inspection and testing and any necessary remedial work must only
be undertaken by someone competent to do such work. On completion, a
periodic inspection report, which indicates the installation is satisfactory
(or why it is not), should be issued by the person carrying out the work and
this should be acted upon and retained by the landlord.

2.8.2 Building Regulations Part P

The Regulations relating to electrical installations fall into two categories:
existing installations and new work.

New Work

The design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations is
controlled under Part P of the Building Regulations which applies to houses
and flats and includes gardens and outbuildings such as sheds, garages and
greenhouses.

All work that involves adding a new circuit or is to be carried out in
bathrooms and kitchens will need to be either carried out by an installer
registered with a government-approved competent person scheme or
alternatively notified to building control before the work takes place.
Generally, small jobs such as the provision of a socket-outlet or a light
switch on an existing circuit will not be notified to the local authority
building control.

High-risk areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and outside areas are
exceptions. All work that involves adding a new circuit or in bathrooms and
kitchens will need to be either notified to building control with a building
regulations application, or carried out by a competent person who is
registered with a Part P self-certification scheme.

More details can be found in ‘Approved Document P’ published by the CLG
and in their guidance leaflet Rules for Electrical Safety in the Home.
On completion of any new electrical installation work an ‘Electrical
Installation Certificate’ or ‘Minor Works Form’ should be issued by the
electrician or installer carrying out the work and this should be retained by
the landlord.

2.8.3 Further Guidance

Building regulations are enforced by local authority building control
officers and they can be consulted for further information about
compliance with these regulations.

For further guidance about electrical safety and the competency of
electricians and installers to carry out new work or undertake the formal
periodic inspection and test of an existing installation, refer to the
information provided on the Electrical Safety Council’s website:
www.esc.org.uk.