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Wickerman
04-08-2005, 09:30 AM
We have a rented property (family of 2) that is managed by a local agent.

They are demanding that we get a PAT test done on the property. We have not done this to date and the agent is getting very shirty about it.

We have received a letter stating

"currently your properyt or (sic) in breach of:

'The electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 state that supplying unsafe electrical goods is an offence'.

AND

'The Consumer Protection Act 1987 applies if a landlord supplies electrical equipment in rented accommodation' "

Now, given that plugs generally need no maintainance, how can an applicance be automatically deemed unsafe unless tested?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Paul_f
04-08-2005, 09:42 AM
The agents are talking bollocks and should be ashamed of their lack of knowledge.

On the other hand PAT tests on applicances that are over 3 years old is not such a bad idea, nor a periodic test on the circuit if the property was built over 10 years ago or has not been rewired within that time.

All the landlord is required to do is make sure the electrics and appliances are safe! How you do that is up to the landlord but there is no regulations to say you have to have them all tested!

MrShed
04-08-2005, 10:29 AM
:)

Paul, is there anything in those three acts mentioned (Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations / Plugs and sockets (safety) regulations and the Consumer Protection Act that) that demands that they be tested annually?

No

The other line they used was:

"May we respectfully remind you that we as a company take the safety of our tenants very seriously. The law as you are aware is constantly changing and in order to protect our interests as well as yours from the possible event of a tenant sustaining injury from an alectrical appliance/installation, we must insist on this certification"

The agents are being a real pain in the ass, though - we had a period inspection carried out and they cannot verify the body to which the person belongs (elecsa, NICEIC etc) but this persons details was obtained through a referral from them!!! (their electrician was busy at the time so he passed on the details of a colleague!) GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.


I would simply write to the agent stating that your legal obligation is merely to ensure that the wiring is safe, which you have done, and there isnt a specific way you have to do so. If they feel they cannot continue to maintain your property, then tell them they can terminate contract by mutual consent - no great loss to you, it is apparent this agent knows SFA. Sounds as if they have a nice little agreement with an electrician to be honest :P

Elektratek
04-08-2005, 12:31 PM
Wickerman, further to your post, i would like to elaborate if i may. The agent may have it's own policies with regards to what they would like tested. The law only states you have a duty of care to adhere to. To satisfy this 'duty of care', i would recommend you have the appliances PAT tested, as this would show you have paid due dilligence in your 'duty of care'. PAT testing is the only formally recognised way of checking an appliance. This is common practise for landlords to carry out these tests annualy, as the cost is not a great deal. The hard wired side of the installation sould be tested every 5 years, but again this is not a legal requirement, but also the only formally recognised way of assesing an existing installation,- again, to satisfy the legal obligation of having a duty of care. As Paul has mentioned the 10 year guildeline, that is a maximum given to domestic properties by the IEE. This should be reduced to 5 years for a property which is let, as the general consensus is tennants tend to pay less attention to an installation they do not own or maintain. If you have had a periodic inspection carried out, select your contractor from the niceic or eca website, to ensure he is fully approved. A PART P approved electrician, regardless of the body he belongs to, will not have been assesed in inspecting existing installations to the degree required for a full periodic inspection report, and therefore, would not be able to issue you with a periodic inspection report from an approving body. Any member, would be using paperwork with the bodies logos on it, which would also be serial numbered, and therefore traceable back to that contractor. Please do not hesitate to visit our website should you require further information.

Hope this helps

Regards
Elektratek

Paul_f
05-08-2005, 17:04 PM
Thanks Elektratek! Just endorses what I think about agents who are crap!

giles
05-08-2005, 17:55 PM
Everyone should want to ensure that things are safe, but I've come across letting agents who are "making up the rules as they go along" and who try to tell owners that annual testing is a legal requirement.

Many of them are doing this because they have an arrangement with a "helpful" local tradesman who hopes to get most of the (unnecessary) work off the agent.

Giles..

Paul_f
07-08-2005, 22:44 PM
Everyone should want to ensure that things are safe, but I've come across letting agents who are "making up the rules as they go along" and who try to tell owners that annual testing is a legal requirement.

Many of them are doing this because they have an arrangement with a "helpful" local tradesman who hopes to get most of the (unnecessary) work off the agent.

Giles..So what! If they do, you give 'em the push if they don't return your money! That's the simple solution that some fail to grasp, contract or no contract!

MrWoof
08-08-2005, 14:24 PM
Read Elektratek's post again, if the agent has used an unqualified electrician that's their problem, as far as you are concerned, the work has not been done satisfactorily so you don't pay. If they have already deducted the money, demand a refund. If the agent has their own policy about electrical checks, fine, if you don't agree, get a new agent or manage the properties yourself. Bear in mind that they are either incompetent in not knowing the law or they are deliberately lying to you. As for the gas safety check, did you have an agreement with them to do this, one of the reasons I sacked my agent was that, having a full management agreement with them, they did not carry out checks on my behalf.

Ericthelobster
08-08-2005, 17:31 PM
They also carried out an annual gas safety check (£60) without telling us it was going ahead - we only knew it had gone ahead after the money was lower than usual; This is despite the fact we know a CORGI registered installer who does an annual service and a gas safety for £85 - we now have to arrange a separate visit to do a service.I recently had an interesting chat with the CORGI-registered firm who usually do my landlord's checks. I asked for confirmation of the cost of the cert plus appliance service, however they couldn't provide a fixed cost for the servicing component as it would depend on what needed doing. I whinged a bit at this, and they said they'd book me just for a "landlords", and then when they were on site, would let me know how much more would be needed for servicing 'but to be honest there's not much else likely to need doing anyway'. The fitter who subsequently came round also confirmed that really having an annual service as well as a landlords inspection on an up-to-date boiler/CH system is actually a waste of time and money these days; a modern boiler contains nothing that needs regular renewing and replacement and provided it's safe - as proven by the landlords cert - there's no point or need for anything more.

I would suggest this approach does require a 'proper' landlords inspection, not just a quick look round and ticking a few boxes. Eg my fitter had the (fully working) gas fire in bits, and did smoke tests up the flue etc, the works (notwithstanding the fact that the same firm had certified the same fire the previous year, which I'm sure a lot of less scrupulous fitters would interpret as a green light to taking shortcuts).

OK then, I wait to be shot down...!

MrShed
08-08-2005, 17:38 PM
I would suggest this approach does require a 'proper' landlords inspection, not just a quick look round and ticking a few boxes. Eg my fitter had the (fully working) gas fire in bits, and did smoke tests up the flue etc, the works (notwithstanding the fact that the same firm had certified the same fire the previous year, which I'm sure a lot of less scrupulous fitters would interpret as a green light to taking shortcuts).

OK then, I wait to be shot down...!

As far as I am aware, this MUST be done to be a valid safety certificate :| so it isnt whether it should be done, it MUST be done.

Ericthelobster
08-08-2005, 19:21 PM
As far as I am aware, this MUST be done to be a valid safety certificate :| so it isnt whether it should be done, it MUST be done.What are you saying MUST be done? Servicing full stop? or a smoke test?

MrShed
08-08-2005, 19:23 PM
As far as I know, checking the flue/dismantling fire to do so etc is all part of a CORGI gas certificate, and this is mandatory for the landlord. At least, this is what has always been done in properties I have rented....but I am no gas engineer!

Elektratek
17-08-2005, 07:06 AM
Wickerman, can you scan the electrical periodic inspection report, and email it to info@elektratek.com
I will tell you if it is an approved cert or not. There is a specimen you can also look at on our website. It should be serial numbered, if it is from an approved contractor (on every page - usually at the top). I can also tell you from the redings if there are any problems.
Regards
Elektratek

www.elektratek.com

Stuart Urban
17-08-2005, 20:13 PM
PaulF -
(the electrician did not put his phone number on the report, and they have been unable to verify what trade body he is part of


The Electrician may or may not belong to one of the companies that offer registration. I'ts not particularly difficult to join the schemes so its no gaurantee that you have had a good job done.

Been a member of NICEIC, NAPIT, ELCSA or ECA would guarantee that the company has someone employed by them that is qualified but sadly that doesnt mean that the person turning up is qualified. I know for a fact that there are NIECIC companies that send unqualified people out to jobs.

Having said that if no one you know can recommend a decent Electrician then try one of the schemes.

One important thing to note though is that many insurance companies are requiring NICEIC certificates now. I know this to be the case for commericial and industrial properties but have not heard of it for domestic properties yet.

Elektratek
17-08-2005, 22:55 PM
In response to Stuarts post, i find it slightly mileading. I totlaly agree that an approved contractor can send any 'bod' out to do work under their name - this is unfortunate. Each approved contractor has a qualified supervisor, who should review all certificates. This is then filed, and available to the NICEIC (in our case) for selection for random inspection annually by the NICEIC themselves. This does not stop a 'bod' doing the work, but places onus on the qualified supervisor to countersign certificates that he has reviewed it. Any system is indeed open to abuse, as Stuart has pointed out, but then how far would you go? Use a contractor that has an approved 'person', or a non-approved contractor with no approved and assesed people? This is as far as you can go to assume a bonified service, other than recommendation - which again, is open to interpretation, as recommended by who?, and under what criteria do they recommend them technical expertise? how would a non electrician know? The confusing part in the post from Stuart, is that it is easy to join one of the schemes. An approved body or a Part P self certification scheme? Part P there is a criteria for the contractor to be assessed against, not too difficult, but i would be in a position to say that. Approved body as in fully approved - i would beg to differ.

You wouldn't be fully approved in a year from scratch even if you tried, as there is lots to learn, know and decide on any job, then the skill to execute your decision. The main difference as i see it, is the procedure... Part P registered installers can self certify, but are not assesed for periodic inspection purposes, and therefore are unable to order approved reports to issue. This is for approved contractors ONLY, who have been assesed, and is true of the niceic. To know if you have an approved certificate/report issued, it will always have a serial number on it, on every page. If it does not, it is not an approved certificate.

Qualified to inspect and test should be the ability of all electricians, however, holding the City and Guilds 2391 qualification, shows the holder has passed a testing an inspection course. This does not mean they have been assesed to carry out testing and inspection proficiently... a good example, is the fact we all know bad drivers - they too however are qualified to drive, so where does this leave us..... My advise, would be to always use an approved contractor. Again, as stuart has mentioned, commercial and industrial insurers are asking more and more for NICEIC certification on jobs, and this - in time, will extend to landlords and domestic customers alike, as the homebuyers pack is introduced in 2007 by the government, where approved certificates will be required to sell your property( from what i have read) for work done in it by a relevant contractor for the type of work.

An important and very valid point has come to light here i think.
Hope this helps

regards

Elektratek