POSTED 09 March 2016 General

Landlord Electrical Safety Certificates Explained

Providing your tenants with a Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate is highly recommended as a responsible landlord. Although it’s not always mandatory to provide one, it covers both your back and the tenants if any electrical problems do occur.

In order to provide an electrical safety certificate, there are several checks and responsibilities that every landlord needs to be aware of. As a landlord, you have a legal duty of care to your tenants both before the tenancy begins and throughout.

At House Network, we’ve put together this guide to explain the necessary checks and requirements so you can be sure to get it right.

The law for HMOs  

If your property is a 'house in multiple occupation' such as a student house, then it’s essential by law that you have a periodical electrical inspection every 5 years carried out by a registered electrician. 

A result of this is the Electrical Installation Condition Report which you can keep as a record of proof of the inspection and it gives details of any remedial work which may need carrying out.

The law for single occupancy properties

For properties that aren’t for multiple occupancies, you don’t have the same legal obligation to have the inspection every 5 years but it’s highly recommended that they’re tested on the same 5 yearly basis, or between different tenancies if this is sooner and more convenient.

If you fail to provide tenants with an electrical safety certificate you’re leaving yourself open to a significant amount of financial risk should any electrical faults occur. As the landlord you’ll be liable, so carrying out your own interim visual inspections are also a good idea.

Despite, not having to provide the landlord electrical certificate for a house in single occupancy, you are legally obliged to check the following:

Sockets, Wiring and Light fittings 

It’s a landlord’s responsibility to check that all the plugs and sockets and wiring in your home are safe to use. This includes sockets for shavers in the bathroom and all types of light fittings.

When carrying out visual checks, make sure that all sockets are securely fixed and in good condition, any cracks or broken ones must be replaced.

Look for signs of scorch marks which indicate any overheating and make sure wiring is in suitable places where it won’t get bent, damaged or melt. Check that the tenant isn’t using any dangerous extension cables.

Fusebox

A fuse box should always be positioned in a place far away from any combustible goods such as cleaning fluids, paint and excessive cardboard and newspaper.

Always check that the fusebox cover isn’t cracked or damaged as this can be a fire risk and lead to electrical shocks.

Electrical Appliances

Any electrical appliances provided by the landlord, such as white goods or kettles and toasters, need to be PAT tested and have the CE marking. Appliances that have been tested should have a Portable Appliance Tested sticker on the plug to prove this.

Landlords should always remember to check that the cables of the appliances are in a satisfactory condition and show no signs of deterioration such as fraying or splitting and that they’re securely attached to both the appliance and the plug. If cables do show signs of wear, it’s advisable to replace the appliance.

For more information on Electrical safety and your legal obligations as a landlord, visit Electrical safety first, where you’ll find more detailed information.

Types of Electrical Safety Certificate/Reports

There are four types of electrical safety certificate/reports available to landlords. These differ depending on the work that needs to be carried out and the intricacies involved, they include:

  • Electrical Installation Condition Report - these are similar to the old "periodical electrical report" and are necessary by law to be completed before a new tenant moves into the property. Any new homeowners are advised to get one also to ensure any old fittings and wirings are updated.
  • Electrical Installation Certificate - a certificate provided by a qualified electrician showing that the current electrical installation in the property is safe and fit for purpose. This is necessary for any new or major electrical installations, circuits or sockets fitted.
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  • Minor Electrical Works Installation Certificate - this is similar to the EIC but only necessary for minor installations such as additional lights and sockets.
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  • Part P notifications - most electrical works carried out will require a 'building control notification'. This can be gained if the electrician carrying out the work is 'Part-P' certified, in which case he/she can self-assess and certify the work. If using an electrician that isn't Part-P qualified, then you can inform the Building Control yourself for the assessment and certification (there is usually a small fee involved).      

 

What’s included in an Electrical Installation Condition Report?

 An EIC report usually provides results from the test, including:

  • Load testing for each circuit
  • General wear and tear notes
  • Testing of bonding and earthing
  • Consumer unit suitability
  • Age, type and condition of the wiring around the property
  • Any deficiencies in electrical installation

Landlord Electrical Safety Report Costs

 An Electrical Installation Condition Report is usually required for landlords when renting their property out to provide an overview of the property's condition making it fit to be inhabited. Costs for this report are usually between £120 to £300 for properties between 2 and 4 bedrooms with relatively new wiring.

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