Landlords’ duties over their electrical assets
Within the property services industry it is common knowledge that employers have a responsibility to ensure their premises meet regulations, are compliant and safe for their staff and customers. Electrical safety is of paramount importance with the increased reliance on portable equipment for staff to conduct their everyday duties.
But what requirements are there in the home?
Most accidents involving electricity in the home arise through faults in or the misuse of domestic appliances or the electrical installation. Every year there are fatalities that could have been avoided if the electrical installation and equipment had been properly maintained and tested.
If you are a landlord you also have a responsibility to your tenants safety within the property. The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 clearly state that every electrical appliance supplied by the landlord must be safe to use and the electrical installation in the house must be safe.
It is recommended that landlords should check all electrical appliances and electrics before the start of a tenancy and regularly thereafter. The following guidelines apply:
live parts should not be accessible
leads should not be worn or frayed and be complete with no joins
trailing leads and the use of multiple plug adaptors should be avoided
correct plugs (marked ‘B SECTION 136’) should be fitted and correctly fused
plug sockets should be firmly fastened to the wall or skirting
electric blankets should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions
microwave doors should be clean, free from corrosion and effective
washing machines, cookers, etc, should be serviced and in good working order
electrical heaters and central heating appliances should be serviced annually
Regular visual safety checks can be conducted to see if there are any broken sockets or switches or if there are signs of scorching around sockets. Overheating of equipment can often be detected simply by a strong smell that is given off. Also lookout for damaged cables. If there is a lack of an RCD (residual current device), this device is designed to prevent fatal electric shocks and are particularly important for circuits supplying equipment in the bathroom or garden.
There are also further recommendations with regard to electrical safety.
What is a Periodic Inspection?
A periodic inspection checks the condition of an existing electrical installation against the UK Standards. These inspections should discover if any of the electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded and identify potential hazards that could lead to electric shock or even fire. Checks will be made to see if any of the electrical work is defective and highlight any lack of earthing. A report with the test results will be provided called the Electrical Installation Condition Report and a copy of this should be kept by the fuse box.
How often should a Periodic Inspection be conducted?
Generally, for rented accommodation the time period between inspections (or the time between installation and the first inspection) should not exceed five years unless recommendations have been made for a shorter interval.
What is a Portable Appliance Test?
A portable appliance is considered to be any electrical appliance, which weighs less than 18kg, is intended to be moved during usage and/or can be moved with ease, for instance, a vacuum cleaner.
PAT or Portable Appliance Testing, is the process of testing appliances to ensure that everything is working as it is supposed to and with a standard of safety that complies with the laws. Although simple visual checks can uncover defects such as twisted cables, many electrical defects are actually invisible to the untrained eye, and are much harder to identify.
How often should a PAT test be conducted?
Although there is no legal obligation for a landlord to conduct these tests, many do see the advantages of using a qualified and reliable company to complete them on a regular basis, generally one to two years. This gives the landlord piece of mind and shows potential tenants that their landlord has their safety in mind and they can rest assured that items included in the rental agreement are safe to use.
If you would like to know more about electrical testing in domestic properties, please feel free to contact us. We have a team of qualified engineers who can conduct these tests for you and provide the required reports.
Don’t leave your tenants safety to chance, speak to us now.