Electrical Safety ⚡️for SOME Landlords has been ignored previously for various reasons. To be fair, usually this was because there was no requirement to carry out such checks as Electrical Installation Condition Reports (See EICRs Page), informally known as “Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate”. In addition, there has been a tendency by some landlords to seek out the cheapest prices and assume that the liability will be with the Electrician if anything was to go wrong. Of course there’s more to it than that. So I’m going to cover a few things below to clear it up a bit.
Liability for Tenant Electrical Safety has changed in 2018 and takes into account FOUR main aspects.
But before I go into those 4 reasons, do you know the reason for having an Electrical Inspection in the first place? And why wiring should be verified and tested during installation by a qualified and accredited Electrical Contractor? Did you also know that the Electrician (or “Electrician” in many cases!) who is assessed and certified as the “Qualified Supervisor” must sign off their own work and cannot sign off someone else’s work?
Even with a brand new installation, Electricians are human too, so the reason for verifying and testing is to make sure no daft issues happened during the installation. This might include, for example, a capping or floorboard nail inadvertently catching the cable. Or maybe a 2 way switch was wired slightly wrong (these are complicated for less experienced Electricians but a simple test can confirm this is correct). Sometimes in the pressure of getting a rewire done (especially when under time constraints or working with distractions) a part of the wiring my be incorrect (unknown to the Installer). So this is why verification and testing BEFORE POWERING ON are crucial. If power is applied and a fault exists, this can cause further damage (internal or external).
Next consideration is repairs and replacements. It doesn’t matter if something seemed simple to replace. Common examples are sockets, light fittings and switches. Often screws can clip the cable (above the ceiling) if done wrong, or not using the correct tools means that the connections might not be tight (a fire hazard in itself!).
Then there’s natural decay over time. Everything in life (including us!) deteriorates with age. In addition, cables can work loose for various reasons such as vibration, or natural expansion and contraction with use. This is more common (but not exclusive to) more powerful appliances such as hobs and showers.
So with this in mind it becomes easy to see that the report (or certificate) is not just an annoying reduction in profit to a landlord.
When done properly an Electrical Installation Condition Report (Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate) actually SAVES you money, as it is a PREVENTATIVE measure to ensure no issues are in the pipeline, or no existing hazards are present. You should NEVER rely on a Visual Only check (which the cheap ones are!).
But like I say, that’s when done properly!! So those cheap options out there … Think carefully as to whether they are done thoroughly or not. I keep visiting houses where the Inspection has recently been done and yet the faults I attend have loose connections and shoddy work that should have been easily identified in a properly carried out check.
The FOUR aspects under consultation in 2018 are these:
- That 5 yearly electrical installation safety checks should be mandatory for all private rented properties.
- These safety certificates (See EICRs page) should confirm that installation checks have been completed along with any necessary repair work provided to both landlord and tenants at the beginning of the tenancy. They should be kept safe to be made available to the local authority on request.
- A private rented sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be established to ensure properly trained experts undertake this work. This would be separate from existing building regulations competent person.
- Landlord supplied electrical appliance testing (See PAT Testing page) plus additional visual checks of electrical appliances by landlords at a change of tenancy should be promoted as good practice and set out in guidance.
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