Electricity is the cause of over 20,000 fires in UK homes annually and, as a landlord, you are required to arrange regular inspections of electrical wiring and equipment, which deteriorate with age and use and become unsafe if not subject to periodic testing. If you neglect this obligation, you could receive a fine of up to £30,0000, with more severe consequences, such as banning orders, for repeat or serious offences.
If you rent out a property, it is your obligation to adhere to the Government’s Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, which state you must carry out inspections of wiring and electrics every five years, identifying issues including overloading, potential shock risks and fire hazards, defective electrical work and lack of earthing or bonding. During the testing, the electrician will note the suitability of the current equipment, the adequacy of the wiring, the serviceability of switches, sockets and light fittings, and the condition of the wiring. The testing should only be conducted by a registered electrician, who will check the condition of the electrics and equipment against the correct UK standards.
Following the inspection, you will be issued with an electrical installation condition report (EICR), which will give the results of the inspection, including any work required to bring the electrics up to current standards, and any damage or wear and tear noted during the inspection. If anything potentially dangerous is discovered during the inspection, the electrician will inform you, reporting this on the EICR. You will need to take immediate action to bring the condition of the electric up to the correct safety standard, which may involve replacing outdated switches, cables, fuse boxes and fittings.
It’s worth noting that mandatory testing for new tenancies came into force in April 2020, and from July 2020 applies to all tenancies. This means that landlords with existing tenants are also obligated to undertake the testing.