As a Landlord, you are responsible for the condition of your rental property – including any threats to the safety of your tenants. While fire and gas safety are well-publicised, electrical safety is often overlooked. In fact, according to a study by the Electrical Safety Council, an alarming 1.7 million renters have reported an electrical fault to their landlords that are left ignored or acted on too late. But why should electrical safety be taken seriously?
The Consequences of Ignoring Electrical Safety
If you choose to ignore the importance of electrical safety, the consequences may be serious – both for you as a landlord and for your tenants. The facts and figures speak for themselves:
- Landlords can be fined for failing to maintain electrical safety – fines have recently increased from £5,000 to £20,000.
- Electrical accidents cause more than 350,000 injuries each and every year.
- Your insurance will be invalid if you do not follow health and safety obligations.
- Faulty electrics are responsible for over half of all accidental house fires.
Many landlords are not even aware of their health and safety obligations and while safety checks are not statutory (as with gas safety certificates), you will still be liable for accidents. In fact, if you rent your property and do not ensure all appliances and electrical systems are safe, you will be committing a criminal offence which could result in a £20,000 fine or even a period of imprisonment.
What Should Landlords Be Doing?
By taking small steps and completing regular checks, landlords can minimise risks to themselves as well as their tenants. Firstly, landlords should be ensuring that the property’s electrical systems (such as sockets and light fittings) are safe. For landlords specifically, Spark Squad recommends regular electrical safety inspections once every five years, which will:
- Show if any circuits are overloaded
- Locate electric shock risks
- Identify fire hazards
- Find any defective electrical work, or lack of earthing and bonding
The outcome of this will be an Electrical Condition Report, evidencing your inspection and detailing recommendations for areas of non-compliance.
Secondly, landlords should ensure all electrical appliances are risk-free. These should be PAT tested to ensure the safety of fans and heaters, lamps, and kitchen equipment. In addition, landlords should always react promptly to the concerns of tenants with regards to electrical safety. Left unchecked, problems could result in a serious accident and substantial fines.