Being a landlord can and does bring with it many benefits. It can help pay off a mortgage, it can provide a steady stream of income, and it also ensures that the property itself is occupied and earning money. However, there are also a number of legal implications that come into play when you become a landlord, and these apply equally whether you have one tenant or 1000.
This article is designed to explain the legal obligations of being a landlord in relation to obtaining an Electrical Safety Certificate. It will also give you some advice that whilst not legally required is viewed as best practice.
What The Law States
As a landlord, you are required by law to
1. Ensure that all electrical fittings (Lights and Plug Sockets for example) are safe when your tenant moves into the property and that safety level is continually maintained throughout the length of the tenancy.
2. Any and all electrical appliances that you supply are safe and have the CE marking. This could include for instance kettles, fridges, and television sets. Note legally this only applies to items you supply, not those that the tenant brings with them.
3. If the property is designated as an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation), then a fully qualified electrician should test and inspect the property every five years.
That is what the law states in regards to your obligations. However, it is wise to ensure that you fully protect yourself and your property and so the following whilst not legally binding are viewed as best practice.
In order to protect yourself, it is essential that you use the services of a fully qualified electrician. Otherwise, there is no point or benefit in getting someone to check the electrics. If they are not qualified, then their inspection is pointless and holds no weight in law.
Have all electrical appliances in your property checked on an annual basis. This shows that you are going above and beyond the legal requirements, and also ensures that your tenants are aware of their obligations to electrical safety.
It is important that your property has adequate RCD protection. RCD stands for Residual Current Device, and basically its job is to prevent any fatalities, should anyone touch a bare wire by mistake. The purpose of the RCD is to switch off the electrical current instantly, but it is a more advanced product than a circuit breaker or fuse.
Carry out regular visual safety checks. – Many landlords like to perform monthly checks on their property, where they focus on damage within the building. By all means, continue to perform these checks, but take the opportunity to complete visual safety controls at the same time. You don’t need to be a qualified electrician to see a broken plug socket or exposed wiring for instance, but once you have seen it, you can arrange for it to be fixed as a matter of urgency.
Annual PAT Testing is essential. Portable Appliance Testing is a wise investment, as it is the easiest way of proving to any subsequent hearing that you had fulfilled your obligation to supply and maintain all electrical fittings. By having a qualified electrician perform these tests, you not only ensure the appliances are safe, but you have the accompanying paperwork to confirm it.
Being a landlord has many benefits to it, but with those benefits come certain responsibilities. By utilizing the services of a qualified electrician, you are doing everything in your power to protect your property and the tenants within it. You are then fully compliant with the law and are protecting yourself should catastrophe strike.