Last week we joined forces with the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) to help raise awareness about the dangers of electricity in privately rented homes.
I joined the ESC at a London-based radio studio to do almost a dozen interviews with regional radio stations right across the UK to help increase awareness about electrical safety in the private-rented sector (PRS).
Each week, at least one person is killed and 1,000 people are seriously injured in electrical accidents in UK homes. Electricity also causes thousands of house fires each week – many of which could be avoided.
Unfortunately for landlords, the PRS is over-represented when it comes to safety incidents involving electricity. While 16% of the UK population rents privately, they account for 20% of people who suffer an electric shock.
Research by the ESC found that the problem lies in a misunderstanding between landlords and tenants over who is responsible for ensuring the property is safe of any electrical hazards.
By law, landlords must ensure all electrical wiring and installations in their properties are safe. So make sure you follow our advice:
- The best way to be sure is to have it inspected (every five years) by a competent electrician. This is a legal requirement if the property is an HMO.
- When a tenant is moving out and a new one is moving in, do a visual inspection of the property to see if anything has been altered. Have anything that looks dangerous looked at by a qualified electrician.
- It’s also advisable to have Residual Current Device (RCD) protection installed in the property as well. This will give added protection to tenants from any faulty electrical appliances.
- Any appliances you provide as part of the tenancy (such as plug-in heaters or kitchen appliances) must be safe. An easy way to ensure safety is through Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). The NLA holds regular PAT courses to teach landlords how to carry out safety checks themselves. For more information click here.
- Any landlord found to be negligent over electrical safety can face stiff penalties of up to £5,000 on each count or imprisonment.
- It’s also important to show tenants how to isolate the electricity if there is a problem. When they move into the property, ensure you show them where the fuse box is and what to do in an emergency. If the property has solar panels ensure they know how to isolate supply from them as well.
- Give your tenants a list of what to do if there is a problem, including a telephone contact number so they can call an electrician.
The ESC has produced a simple guide for landlords outlining how to ensure the electrical safety of a property. They also have a smart phone app you can download on the site which guides you around the home in a step-by-step inspection.
Also, visit the NLA Online Library (FREE for NLA members) for more information on electrical safety, or better still, sign up to become NLA Accredited and learn about your wider responsibilities as a landlord.
If in doubt, call the NLA Advice Line (FREE for NLA members) who will be able to guide you further.
To join or to find out about the NLA Membership benefits click here