Electrical Services, Inspections and Testing for Landlords
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are in proper working order throughout a tenancy and are safe when any new tenancy begins. There may be several consequences if landlords do not complete their responsibilities, including the possibility of invalidated insurances, and local authorities can take action to enforce electrical safety in residential accommodation under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Landlords should carry out regular basic visual safety checks to detect any obvious broken or degraded items like light switches or sockets, including signs of scorching possibly caused by overloading or damaged cables.
The easiest way for landlords to ensure their obligations are met is to have a regular PAT testing and an EICR (electrical installation condition report), the most straightforward and cost-effective way of proving an electrical installation is safe. The Electrical Safety Council recommends in its latest guidance for rented accommodation that periodic inspections/tests by a qualified electrician are carried out at least every 5 years or on a change of tenancy.
Landlords are required by law to ensure:
- That when tenants move in the electrical installation in a rented property is safe and is and maintained throughout the tenancy
- That HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) have periodic inspections every five years or upon change of tenant. Please refer to a table of recommended testing frequencies
- That any appliances provided within the rental property are safe and has at least the CE marking. (A PAT test is an effective way for landlords to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations to maintain exacting standards of electrical safety in their rented property).
We take care of all scheduling of tests required for emergency lighting (where app) fire detection, PAT testing and EICRs.
Landlords need to be aware that there is a difference between the fixed installations such as switches, wiring light fitting and sockets and portable appliances such as fridges, cookers, kettles, toaster and TVs that need to be plugged in.
Portable Electrical Appliance (PAT) Testing
Although PAT testing is left to the landlords discretion, the Electrical Safety Council’s Guidance recommends portable appliance testing to satisfy the obligation to ensure that any portable electrical appliances which the landlord provides under the tenancy are safe at the point of letting, and at periodic intervals after that.
Period of Years Between PAT Tests
Refrigerators/washing machines/electric fires: 4 years
Portable Equipment – table lamps, fans, kettles, toasters, vacuum cleaners: 2 years
Tenants should also be provided with instruction manuals and be told to read and follow them.
Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation
It is very important that all HMOs, not just those with a licence, have fixed electrical installations inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding 5 years, by a qualified electrician as the local authority can ask for the certificate with only seven days’ notice, a requirement that may be extended to all rental properties in the near future. HMO landlords are also obligated under the management regulations to ensure that fire alarms are in proper working order; testing/maintenance requirements vary according to the type of system installed.
Maintaining electrical safety is absolutely crucial to keep tenants safe and landlords compliant and fully insured. Please call The Oxford Electrical Company if you’re a landlord with properties in Oxford or the surrounding area. We can ensure that your tests are scheduled in advanced so that you never have to worry about remembering when your next EIRC or PAT testing is due.