Landlords Duty of Care
As a landlord you have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for your tenants on many levels and as part of this duty, the electrics within the property are an important consideration. Many recent surveys by the authorities have found that landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, from fines and invalidated insurance policies, to not acting on their electrical safety obligations and thus not covering their liability. This also puts many UK private tenants at risk of serious harm, or the potential of a fire being caused.
Sheldon Bosley are able to assist you through every step when considering your responsibilities for your tenants safety thus taking the headache away from you and giving you confidence that you are performing well as a landlord. We have briefly outlined your responsibilities as follows:
Landlords are required by law to ensure:
- That the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout the duration of the tenancy.
- That a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years. If your property is not an HMO, you are not legally obliged to do this. However, it is strongly recommend and considered to be good practice to have a periodic inspection and test carried out by a registered electrician on your rental property at least every five years.
- That any appliance provided is safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law).
To meet these requirements a landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.
Landlords should also make sure….
- That the property has adequate RCD protection
- That a registered electrician is used for any work on the property
- That regular safety checks are carried out on the electrical appliances provided as part of the rental agreement
There are a number of simple, visual checks that can be carried out when visiting a property during a tenancy period:
- Check that there is RCD protection in the fuse box
- Make sure that the plug sockets are not overloaded.
- Ensure that plugs and sockets are not damaged
- Check that visible cables and leads are in good condition
- Check that the light fittings are not visibly damaged
- Check that combustible materials are not being stored around the fuse box, electricity meter or electrical intake
- Cables are not trailed under carpets or rugs
- Check that mains-powered electrical items are not being used in the bathroom
Visual inspections can help to highlight any potential problems and an electrician can be called to investigate further. If however a tenant is not using the electrics in the correct manner, this can be pointed out to them and a note made, thus covering a landlords’ liability should any accidents occur due to misuse.
If you have any questions regarding electrical safety in a rental property please do not hesitate to contact one of our Lettings Team. Stratford upon Avon Office: 01789 292310 or Shipston on Stour Office: 01608 665473.