Whilst the Housing and Planning Act 2016, is looking to impose mandatory electrical safety checks on landlords, the main legislation for electrical safety is that of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. It requires that all appropriate electrical equipment supplied in a property must be safe to use. Unlike the Gas Safety Regulations, there is no mandatory requirement for the equipment to be checked nor are there any stipulations as to how often the electrical supply might need to be checked, but the duty of care remains the same. If landlords or agents should be found guilty of non-compliance with these regulations, the penalties are severe in monetary terms and include possible imprisonment.

Landlords and their agents have to:

  1. Ensure that cracked/damaged sockets or plugs and frayed wiring are made good;
  2. Property is inspected and tested at least every 10 years by a ‘Competent Person’;
  3. Ensure all socket outlets which may be used for equipment outdoors (e.g. a lawnmower) should be protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD);
  4. Retain copies of any certificates of electrical works carried out.

If they supply any electrical appliances they must make sure of the following:

  1. Live parts should not be accessible;
  2. Leads should not be worn or frayed and be complete with no joins;
  3. Trailing leads and the use of multiple plug adaptors should be avoided;
  4. Correct plugs (marked B SECTION 136) should be fitted and correctly fused;
  5. Plug sockets should be firmly fastened to the wall or skirting;
  6. Any moving parts should be guarded;
  7. Electric blankets should be serviced according to the manufacturers instructions;
  8. Microwave doors should be clean, free from corrosion and effective;
  9. Washing machines, cookers etc should be serviced and in good working order;
  10. Electrical heaters and central heating appliances should be serviced annually;
  11. Fireguards should meet BS3248;
  12. Fire extinguishers should be marked BS6575 1985.
  13. Any electrical equipment must have a regular PAT Test (Portable Appliance Test). The level of inspection and testing required is dependent upon the risk of the appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependent upon the type of appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which it is used.

More on electrical safety inside flats can be read here.



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