The impact of electric shock or fire from faulty or poorly maintained electrical equipment can be devastating. For example loose connections in electrical equipment or accessories can produce arcing and heating which can lead to a fire. In addition incorrectly selected fuses or circuit-breakers can cause cables to overheat.
As part of The Landlords and Tenants Act 1985 landlords are responsible for making sure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when a tenancy begins and is maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. The Act also requires that installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity are kept in repair and proper working order.
It is also important that landlords take reasonable steps to ensure that appliances such as electric kettles, fridges and washing machines provided as part of the tenancy agreement are safe. This forms part of The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 which requires that appliances are safe to use when first supplied. Portable appliances should be checked to ensure that they each carry the CE Mark.
For rented accommodation the Electrical Safety Council recommends that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at least every 5 years or on the change of tenancy. Any inspection should include checks to ensure there are no broken or missing accessories, no accessible live parts, no signs of burning at accessories or electrical equipment and a manual test of any residual current devices.
Requirements for carrying out electrical work
Any electrical contractor a landlord uses to carry out electrical installation work in a rental property should be registered with a government authorised Part P scheme and be deemed to be a ‘competent person’. If they are, they will be able to self-certify their electrical installation work. If they are not, Building Control will have to be notified before work commences.
You can find a registered electrical contractor using the NICEIC which is an independent voluntary regulatory body for electrical installation safety matters throughout theUK.
Adhering to Part P of the Building Regulations means that electrical installation work carried out will be of the highest standard and applies to fixed installations after the distributor’s meter in houses and flats. This also extends to common access areas, shared amenities in flats and electrical installations in or on land associated with buildings.
Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) and Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificates (MEIWCs) are an official record of electrical installation work carried out and their condition at the time they were inspected and tested. The EIC will indicate whether the electrical work that has been carried out is classed as ‘new’, an ‘addition’ or an ‘alteration’.