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Electrical Safety Regulations

This page is designed to give a summary of regulations which currently exist relating to electrical appliances and their impact on both private and commercial landlords.

The electrical safety regulations require that any electrical appliances supplied must be safe. Where their safe use requires, appropriate instruction booklets must also be provided.

Unlike the gas safety regulations, there is no statutory annual testing interval. Yet, in order to meet the requirements, it is still important that the appropriate checks and safeguards are carried out.

The regulations require:

General Safety. All electrical equipment supplied must be safe. This will require that the electrical appliances, including their leads, are checked by a competent and suitably qualified engineer. Unsafe items should be removed.

Labeling

All electrical equipment that is manufactured after the 1st January 1997 must be marked with the appropriate CE symbol.

Instructions

It is recommended that manufacturer’s instructions be provided wherever possible for each appliance that is supplied. This will help ensure that the tenant uses the equipment safely.

Why is it Important?

The maximum penalty for non-compliance with the regulations is a fine of £5000 and / or six months imprisonment.

Electrical Safety Testing

It is important that both the fixed electrical installation (i.e. the mains wiring) and any supplied appliances and other equipment are safe. Both are easily tested by a qualified engineer.

Appliances

It is recommended that electrical appliances are tested prior to the initial letting of a properly and annually thereafter. If an individual appliance is used particularly frequently or in a harsh environment (e.g. wet conditions) then more frequent testing may be required.

Fixed Installations

It is also important that the fixed wiring circuits are checked for safety. The Institute of Electrical Engineers (lEE) recommends that this is carried out at least every ten years in a domestic environment.

Records

You should keep a record of all appliances tested and checks carried out. You can also carry out your own simple checks. There are some important points you should watch for:

Lead

Watch out for frayed or worn leads. These may be dangerous and should be replaced

Plugs

By law, electrical appliances must not be supplied without a correctly fused plug fitted to it.

Appliances covered by regulations

The regulations cover all mains voltage electrical goods designed with a working voltage of between 50 and 1000 volts a.c. including: Cookers, kettles, toasters, electric blankets washing machines, immersion heaters.

General Product Safety

For all rented property, there is a statutory right that the landlord maintain the structure and main services serving the property in good repair and that it shall be fit for human habitation. There are also general product safety regulations that require the property and items in the property to be safe.

The product safety regulations state that any item supplied to a consumer in the course of a commercial activity must be safe and this is deemed to include the supply of rented property.

The following checks and precautions should be observed:

  • Discard any damaged items that may be dangerous.
  • Provide instruction manuals where appropriate.
  • Check for obvious danger signs, broken glass, sharp edges, worn leads etc.
  • All repairs or building work carried out on the property should be done in accordance with current building regulations (e.g. use of toughened safety glass in low level glazing)
  • Smoke detectors, any supplied fire extinguishers and related safety equipment should be kept in good working order.
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