Being a landlord in the UK comes with a set of responsibilities, and with a noticeable shift in the amount of legislation surrounding tenanted property, you need to ensure that any property you are renting out complies with legal requirements.
One area in particular that has seen a lot of recent changes in the law, is tenanted property electrical standards. Safety and security are key issues and there are serious implications if a landlord fails to ensure that their tenants are protected by maintaining a standard that is considered with the scope of what is considered a duty of care.
Safe and secure
The landlord’s and letting agent’s duty of care covers a wide range of safety aspects together with rules and regulations, that are designed to make the tenant feel safe and secure while they are renting the property.
A good example of this would be the aspect of fire prevention, with every new property that has been built since 1992 requiring a mains powered smoke detector alarm. Whilst older properties don’t require the smoke detector to be hardwired to the mains, many cautious landlords are either arranging to do this or fitting a battery powered detector on every floor to help with compliance.
Gas appliances and flues in the property need to be inspected by a GAS SAFE registered engineer every 12 months and a Gas Safety Certificate issued. There is no current equivalent electrical safety certificate required, but there are certainly plenty of laws and standards that need to be met when it comes to electrical safety in a tenanted property.
There are quite a few regulations currently in force when it comes to achieving a required standard for electrical installations, equipment and general safety.
These regulations are aimed at landlords and their agents who are renting properties out under a legitimate tenancy agreement.
The regulations include compliance with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994. There are also Part P 2005 Building Regulations that are in place and any sockets and plus in the property also have to meet British Standard BS1363.
Ignorance of these standards and regulations is not considered an acceptable excuse and if there is an unfortunate incident at your property such as a fire, the landlord could be facing a serious charge of manslaughter in fatal circumstances.
No responsible landlord would even want to contemplate this scenario and be accused of neglecting their duty of care to keep their tenants safe and secure whilst in their property. Regular inspections and an electrical condition report to show that you have done all you can as a landlord to comply with the regulations, will give you peace of mind and help to protect your tenants and the property from possible damage caused by an electrical fault.
If you are a landlord of a property that is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), there are some laws that apply to these types of property.
The current UK law dictates that the electrical installation in a rented property is deemed to be safe when the tenant moves in and it also requires that it is maintained in a safe condition throughout their tenancy.
The law treats HMO properties differently in that you are required to carry out a periodic inspection at least every five years to ensure compliance, whereas any property that is not classified as an HMO, is not affected by the same legal obligation.
Despite this fact, it would not be a good idea to avoid periodic inspections by a qualified electrician on any tenanted property, especially when you think of the potential consequences.
When you are the landlord of a property, it is not just a case of ensuring compliance with the laws and regulations because you have to.
Meeting or exceeding required standards not only helps to keep your tenant safe and secure and hopefully happy to keep on renting from you, it also allows you to protect your investment by keeping the property in good condition.
It is recommended that you always make sure your property has adequate RCD protection and always use a registered electrician for any work that is carried out at the property.
Keeping your property and your tenants safe should always be a priority consideration so make sure you keep up to date with electrical safety work and inspections, before it’s too late.