How safe electrical installations can benefit landlords as well as tenants
Britain has a very good electrical safety record. Each year, 30 people die as a result of faulty electrical installations. 4,000 people per year are injured, and the bulk of the problems stem from misused appliances or overloaded sockets.
Another reason for Britain’s good safety record is its electrical regulations, which protect us all. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations of 1994 are two examples. Both were created to make sure that landlords and letting agents are fully responsible for the repair and maintenance of electrical installations. This includes in situ electrical appliances like cookers, microwave ovens and refrigerators, as well as heating, lighting, and mains electricity.
In the 1994 Act, landlords are required to check the safety of included appliances at regular intervals. For homes in multiple occupation, this is every five years. Though there is no legal obligation, landlords may hire an electrical contractor to undertake PAT Testing duties.
Tenant owned possessions
Any extra appliances or gadgets brought in by the tenant falls outside the jurisdiction of the landlord. Therefore, it is the tenant’s responsibility to make sure that he or she (for example) uses the manufacturer’s own smartphone or digital tablet charger.
Today’s hyperconnected lifestyle means more use of mains sockets, either for computer systems or for charging our mobile devices as well as the 52” flat screen television. Increasingly, it is also used for the WiFi hotspot and games consoles.
With the technological breakthroughs we have seen, the number of sockets in our home haven’t caught up. Which is why double plugs or 4-way extension sockets are a popular remedy. If discretion isn’t shown (say for example, a kettle shares the same extension lead as a dishwasher), this leads to overloading and a potential fire risk.
This can be remedied by adding further mains sockets. Doing so lessens the dependence on multi-plug extension leads.
Tenants should be aware of their safety obligations
Landlords and letting agents are required to keep their properties safe. Tenants should also be aware of their side of the bargain. For example: details of Health and Safety notices; where required, details of fire assembly points; also emergency numbers and a central point of contact for the landlord or letting agents.
Besides safe electrical installations, there should be reference to fire prevention equipment. For example, sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, Carbon Monoxide detection equipment and fire blankets.
Why electrical safety is important
According to the Electrical Safety First website, almost half of all domestic fires have been caused by faulty electrics. With private tenants, the chances of getting electric shock are greater than that of owner-occupiers. As well as being good for tenants, a safe property portfolio makes good business sense. With the localised nature of property sales and lettings, word of mouth is a powerful media form. One that can make or break landlords irrespective of size and standing.
Mertech Electrical are a Beverley based electrical contractors. Formed in 2014, they carry out most of their work within Hull City Council boundaries and the East Riding of Yorkshire.