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 June 2020 and were extended to existing tenancies from April 2021.
The regulations require landlords and letting agents to have electrical installations inspected and tested by a competent person, at least every five years. You can find out more about electrical safety standards in the private rented sector and landlords’ responsibilities here
Landlords must have carried out the routine electrical safety checks on their properties, updating their “Electrical Inspection Certificate Report” (EICR certificate), sometimes known as an electrical compliance certificate, every five years.
Electrical faults are a serious risk to tenant safety so these new rules aim to protect renters and reduce landlord liabilities.
In 2019 the Government announced plans to phase-in mandatory electrical safety checks in England & Wales, to bring electrical testing in-line with the gas safety check regime. The new regulations were to supersede the electrical safety regulations already operative in licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and complement the electrical testing regulations in operation in Scotland.
It is your legal duty, as a landlord, to ensure the safety of all the electrical equipment supplied throughout your property and to make sure 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.
Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
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 at intervals of at least every five years, by a qualified electrician.
A certificate should then be obtained and supplied to tenants, and the local authority may require it to be produced within seven days if requested.
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.
Landlords should carry out regular visual safety checks of all the electrical installations and appliances provided in a property between tenancies and during tenancy inspections to make sure they are safe. This will give landlords a chance to spot any broken or damaged items such as light switches and sockets, flexes and leads before they become unsafe or get a chance to cause damage to the property.
The Government regulations currently do not require landlords to carry out portable appliance tests - this is up to the landlord’s discretion - though these tests are advised. Landlords may wish to have these tests carried out at the point of letting, to avoid any safety issues, potential disputes or damage caused by faulty appliances.
Maintaining electrical safety and having a valid landlord certificate in place is crucial when letting out a property. Electrical installation upgrades not only improve tenant safety, they also benefit landlords through 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 on the NICEIC website here
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, 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.