What are the electrical safety regulations for landlords? Electrical safety regulations for landlords

What are the electrical safety regulations for landlords?

In this article, we take a detailed look at the landlord electrical regulations and safety obligations that landlords are responsible for.

Electrical safety in a rented property is extremely important. It can be a major source of fire outbreaks and you, as a landlord, have a responsibility to do all you can to protect your tenant.

If your rental property is in England

Legislation called the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) was passed in 2020. You can read about what this means for landlords here.

If your rental property is in Wales

From July 15th 2022, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act states that all rental properties must have periodic inspections, and electrical installations tested by a qualified person, such as a registered electrician, every five years.

If your rental property is in Scotland

From December 1st 2015, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 was amended, making it a legal requirement for landlords to ensure their properties are electrically safe. You must have an electrical safety inspection carried out by a qualified person every five years with testing carried out more frequently. Tenants must receive a copy of the inspection once complete. New tenants must receive a copy of the most recent inspection before the start of a tenancy.

But, wherever your rental property is in the UK, we'll now look at what's considered 'best practice' to help make dealing with landlord electrical regulations easier.

Carrying out a landlord electrical safety check

Any electrical work needs to be carried out by a 'Part P' registered electrician, even minor works. You'll also need to notify your local authority's building control department before any work begins.

From April 1st 2021, it became law to have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) carried out on your rental property. It's an in-depth check of all the electrical circuits, and can reveal potential dangers such as deterioration, defects, damage, or non-compliance with present day safety standards. For more details, you can read our extensive article that covers the Landlord Safety Certificate.

On top of this, any new electrical installations must be accompanied by an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC). Under English law, this must be carried out by a third party - not the same person who installed it. Although this isn't currently law in Wales and Scotland, it's probably worth using a third party as it shows you've taken every care possible.

Once an installation has been certified, you need to have it inspected and tested periodically no more than every five years.

If your property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), your local authority may ask to see evidence of current electrical certification. If so, you must supply them with a valid EIC or EICR within seven days.

If you've provided any electrical equipment in the property - such as a fridge/freezer, kettle or lamps - it must be kept in a safe condition. Although there's no legal obligation (unless you're in Scotland), it's advisable to have a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) carried out once a year, or between tenancies. There is no certificate for this but you should ask for written confirmation of the result.

If you're including electrical appliances in your home, such as a kettle, fridge, TV, and the like, it's recommended that they feature the BEAB Approved Mark. Applicable to the UK and across Europe, this proves that the appliance has been subjected to third party inspection by Intertek, an independent body who checks the standards of electrical product manufacturers globally.

In Scotland, each change in tenancy legally involves a professional inspection of your electrics, but in England and Wales, this isn't legislation. Even so, it's safe to have a professional carry out a visual check to make sure the property is safe to re-let.

  • Check for broken or missing switches or sockets
  • Make sure there are no accessible live parts
  • Ensure any installed RCDs operate when the test button is pressed
  • Check the cables and plugs of all electrical appliances to make sure they haven't been damaged by cuts, cracking, or loose pins
  • Make sure no part of any electrical appliance is damaged or missing.

The potential consequences of not maintaining electrical safety

Government research reveals that, between March 2019 and March 2020, 199 fire-related fatalities took place in homes.

  • 49% were caused by cooking equipment, including electrical equipment like microwaves
  • 34% were caused by 'appliance misuse'
  • 15% were caused by faulty appliances and leads

Along with fatalities, over 4,500 casualties were caused in the same period by burns and smoke inhalation.

Electric shock, fire and burns can be suffered as a result of:

  • Gradual deterioration of the electrical installation and equipment
  • Damage to switches, sockets, and other equipment
  • Misuse of the installation and equipment
  • Poor maintenance
  • Vandalism

But as a landlord, so long as you carry out all the legally required and advised measures, you should be able to almost eliminate these risks completely. If, however, you don't, the results can be devastating.

If your tenant suffers injury or dies because you've neglected electrical safety, you can face heavy fines or even prison, not to mention the emotional toll it could take on you. Electrical testing and checks aren't time consuming or expensive unless extensive work is needed to bring them up to standard. There really is no excuse for not keeping on top of them.

A summary of the checks you should be making:

When Inspection / certification required Carried out by
On completion of any electrical installation work Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate (DEIC) Third party 'Part P' registered electrician (Scotland: NICEIC or SELECT)
Annually Portable Appliance Test (PAT) 'Part P' registered electrician (Scotland: NICEIC or SELECT)
At intervals of not more than 5 years, or as advised on current DEIC Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate (DEIC) 'Part P' registered electrician (Scotland: NICEIC or SELECT)
On change of tenancy Visual check Landlord or their representative

If you have any concerns or queries about electrical safety and landlord electrical regulations in your property, refer to the Government's own, clear advice.

Our award-winning Landlord Insurance lets you build exactly the kind of cover you need, and add options like accidental damage, loss of rent, landlord emergency and legal expenses cover. We also guarantee to beat your new quote or renewal premium from any other insurer when you take out a new landlord insurance policy with us. Cover on an equivalent basis to ours. Qualifying criteria apply. Doesn't apply when Rent Guarantee or Landlord Emergency Cover is added. Full Terms & Conditions.

Landlord Insurance

Last Updated: 24 Jan 2024