Why you need a landlord electrical safety certificate

Landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, such as fines and invalid insurance claims, if they do not follow their electrical safety obligations. The risks go beyond financial losses as a failure to comply with electrical safety regulations endangers the safety of tenants, who could be living in homes that are unsafe.

Mandatory electrical safety checks have applied to all new tenancies since 1 July 2020 and were extended to existing tenancies from April 2021. This was despite attempts to push the deadline back due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in slowing work and causing tenants to be reluctant to admit tradespeople, as well as a shortage of qualified electricians.

The regulations require landlords and letting agents to have electrical installations inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person, at least every five years. You can find out more about electrical safety standards in the private rented sector and landlords’ responsibilities at GOV.UK.

 

The introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks

In 2019, the Government announced its plans to phase in mandatory electrical safety checks, to bring electrical testing in-line with the gas safety check regime and the electrical regulations already operative in licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), as well as the electrical testing regulations in operation in Scotland.

The new regulations replaced the existing requirements for HMOs to have the electrical installations tested. Hamilton Fraser’s news partner, LandlordZONE, outlined the changes and how landlords can make sure they are compliant in its comprehensive article on the mandatory five year electrical checks.

Electrical safety regulations for landlords

It is your legal duty, as a landlord, to ensure the safety of all the electrical equipment supplied throughout your property and to ensure that it is maintained for the duration of a tenancy.

This responsibility includes all fixed electrical equipment supplied through the property’s electrical meter and extends to plugs, light fixtures and internal wiring too.

Just like with any other features of a property, electrical installations are subject to wear and tear and therefore require maintenance and safety assurances.

 

Houses in multiple occupation

If you have a house in multiple occupation (HMO), defined as at least three tenants living there who are not from one household, but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen, then management regulations require landlords to take safety measures that ensure fixed electrical installations are tested in intervals of at least five years, by a qualified electrician.

A certificate should then be obtained, and the local authority may require it to be produced within seven days if requested.

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Why you need a landlord electrical safety certificate

 

Part P building regulations

This regulation requires that most of the fixed electrical installations in a rental property meet building regulations. This can be done by either pre-notifying the local authority of any work that is to take place or by employing the services of a registered electrician under one of the Government’s approved schemes.

 

Electrical installations

Landlords should carry out regular visual safety checks of all the electrical installations in a property between tenancies to make sure they are safe. This will give landlords a chance to spot any broken or damaged items like light switches and sockets, before they get a chance to cause damage to the property.

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Electrical appliances

The Government currently does not legally require landlords to carry out portable appliance tests’ this is up to the landlord’s discretion.

Landlords may nevertheless wish to carry out such checks at the point of letting to avoid any potential disputes or damage caused by faulty appliances.

Maintaining electrical safety is undoubtedly crucial when letting out a property, since electrical installation upgrades also benefit landlords through the material improvement of properties that can prevent fires, causing significant and expensive damage.

Make sure that any work required is carried out by a qualified electrician, thus guaranteeing the safety of electrical installations. You can find further information in the Government’s ‘domestic landlord guidance’ document.

If you are unsure about why you need an electrical safety certificate and how to obtain one, then let us help.

We’ve created a comprehensive legislation for landlords guide to provide you with all the essential information you need to help you make the best choices for your property.

Remember, Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance is here to help protect your rental income and property. We have been providing award-winning landlord insurance and comprehensive cover for landlords since 1996. Our dedicated experts excel at delivering high quality customer service and tailored insurance policies that meet your business requirements.

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