Keeping you safe at home

According to the Electrical Safety Council, Government statistics show that electricity causes more than 15,000 fires a year in the UK, almost half of all were accidental house fires. The statistics also indicate that there were 1380 fatalities and injuries, of which 80% were caused by appliances and products in the home, highlighting the extreme importance of maintaining electrical safety.

It is especially important for landlords, who have a duty of care and are liable for the health and safety of their tenants, to be aware of where their responsibilities lie. That said, subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament, electrical safety certificates will be mandatory from 1 July 2020 for all new tenancies and by 1 April 2021 for all existing tenancies. The new ruling will ensure every residential Landlord inspects the hard wiring electrical installation within their rental property every 5 years by an approved NICEIC contractor and safeguard the issued report to prove this.

At the time of the electrical hard wiring check, It is important to acknowledge, should a landlord be made aware of any faults which require repair and fail to repair them, they will now be in breach of regulations and could result in a fine of up to £30,000 plus be liable for any resulting injury or fatality.

The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance for Landlords which includes undertaking a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) on an annual basis testing all appliances within a rental property that have a plug. Any electrical check must be carried out by a qualified electrician, which entails testing the appliances and, if safe, issuing a certificate stating they are safe to use. Where they are unsafe, the electrician will list the works which are required to be undertaken, these will be at the Landlords expense, to make them safe before the property can be let legally.

The installation of residual current devices (RCD) is also worth considering prior to the 1st July. These life saving devices which are designed to prevent an individual getting a fatal electric shock should they touch something live (such as a bare wire) by shorting the electricity supply, are now installed within all new electrical sockets. They need to be installed by a NICEIC approved contractor and tested every five years and, in the case of an older property, may lead to the replacement of entire fuse box units to RCD fuse boxes. However, they do safeguard against fire and save lives. A DTI report estimates that 20% of electrical fires could be prevented by the presence of an RCD.

We will always endeavour to offer the best advice to our clients, to ensure our landlords are made aware of all their responsibilities and the options available to them in order to safeguard their property and the lives of their tenants.

TOP TIP – Arrange your electrical surveys as soon as possible as there will be huge demand leading up to the 1 July 2020 and quite possibly, a price increase.