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Safety in Rented Homes

The Electrical Safety Council has found that landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, from fines and invalidated insurance, through not acting on their electrical safety obligations. Ignoring their responsibilities means landlords are also putting millions of UK private tenants at risk of serious accident or fire.

Landlords' Responsibilities

Landlords are required by law to ensure:

  • That the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration.
  • That a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years.
    If your property is not an HMO, you are not legally obliged to do this. However, the ESC recommends that a periodic inspection and test is carried out by a registered electrician on your rental properties at least every five years.
  • That any appliance provided is safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law)

To meet these requirements a landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.

The ESC recommends...

  • Make sure that your property has adequate RCD protection
  • Use a registered electrician for any work on your property
  • Carry out regular safety checks on the electrical appliances provided as part of the rental agreement
  • Download the ESC's 'Home Electrical Safety Check' smartphone app

Advice for Tenants

Tenants should report any problems to the landlord straight away. 
If you have reported a problem to your landlord and he or she has refused to put the situation right or ignored your request, you should contact your local authority who will be able to help you. Local authorities will ensure a landlord is meeting their legal obligations and can take enforcement action against them.

You should never try to carry out your own electrical repairs.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
The safety of appliances you bring into your accommodation is your responsibility. If you are in any doubt about the safety of an appliance, get it tested or replaced.

Your landlord or college, if you are in halls of residence, should have a system for inspecting and testing the portable equipment that is already in the property. 

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