Do I need to have an official electrical safety test carried out on my property?
The gas safety check is a well-known piece of letting legislation, and most landlords are familiar with their responsibilities surrounding this. However, you are not alone in your confusion about electrical testing, and the responsibility you have regarding it.
Your responsibility differs depending on here in the UK your property is located. Landlords with properties in Scotland have a more significant responsibility than elsewhere in the UK, following a piece of legislation that was passed on December 20105, which made private landlords responsible for ensuring an electrical safety inspection of their property is carried out by a registered electrician – someone registered with NICEIC or a member firm of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT) - at least every five years, or before the start of a new tenancy.
The inspection must guarantee the safety of any installations in the property for the supply of electricity, all electrical fixtures and fittings and any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy.
Landlords must be able to prove that all of the above are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order, ad replace/repair anything that falls below the pass rate.
Similarly, to a gas safety check, copy of the most recent electrical safety inspection report must be provided to new tenants at the start of a tenancy, and issued to existing tenants when a new report is carried out.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there is no legal requirement to carry out this test on a standard residential property, however different rules apply for HMOs (they require a periodic inspection every five years). Although there is no legal requirement, as a landlord you have a requirement to ensure that the property you are providing offers a safe living environment for your tenants and their visitors, so ensuring electrical safety is up to scratch is a good idea!
Building a regular periodic inspection carried out by a registered electrician into your maintenance plan is best practice, making sure that this includes an overview of supply, fixtures, fittings and appliances.
Landlords across the UK should also ensure that any appliance supplied for use in a property carries the CE marking, a guarantee from the manufacturer’s that it meets all the requirements of European law.
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