As a landlord, it is your responsibility in law to keep your tenants safe from harm whilst living in your property. Keeping your tenants safe from the dangers of electrocution and electrical fires is paramount. This means that you must ensure that all electrical installations, fixtures and fittings and electrical appliances, provided by you for use within your rented property, are safe to use.
How do I prove my property is electrically safe?
As a landlord it is your responsibility to arrange regular electrical inspections of your properties by a suitably qualified electrician. At the end of the inspection a report is produced called an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). Since December 2015 it is compulsory for every rented property in Scotland to have one. If any item fails the inspection it is your responsibility to get it repaired or replaced immediately.
Who should I get to carry out the Electrical Inspection?
An EICR must be carried out by a ‘suitably competent person.’ As a landlord, it is not easy to know who is competent and who is not. For this reason it is recommended that you use an electrician who is a member of an accredited body that is recognised by the Scottish Government. In Scotland this means choosing an electrical contractor that is registered with NICEIC or SELECT.
How often must I get my property tested?
An inspection must be carried out at the start of a new tenancy or every 5 years, whichever is sooner. A copy of the EICR must be given to the tenant of the property and you must keep your own copy for 6 years.
How long will the inspection take?
This will vary depending on the size and age of the property and how accessible the electrics are. On average it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours including paperwork. You can help speed the process up by moving heavy furniture etc to allow clear access to sockets, switches etc. The power will need to be switched off during the testing so, if possible, it may be worth trying to arrange this for a time when you know the property will be unoccupied.
What will be tested?
By law, any installation that supplies electricity, all electrical fixtures and fittings and any appliance that is provided as part of the tenancy need to be deemed electrically safe. This will include the fuse box (to ensure it meets current guidelines) light fittings, switches, sockets, hard wired smoke alarms and heat detectors etc. It will also include checks to ensure that the correct bonding to the water or gas pipe-work is in place. In Scotland, Pat Testing is part of the EICR. PAT testing involves testing any movable electrical appliance, provided by you, that can be plugged in e.g. fridge, vacuum cleaner, microwave etc.
What will my EICR tell me?
The EICR will use different codes to indicate different levels of compliance for each item that is tested. C1 indicates ‘danger present – immediate remedial action required’ (If at all possible, any items classified as C1 should be made safe on discovery), C2 indicates ‘potentially dangerous defect – urgent remedial action required’, C3 indicates ’improvement recommended’ and FI indicates ‘further investigation required’. To achieve compliance all C1 and C2 faults will need to be fixed, and in some cases F1 faults may also need attending to.
If you need any further information about electrical testing get in touch with us at Aberdeen Electricians Ltd. We are NICEIC approved electricians and can carry out EICR and PAT Testing for an affordable price. We also provide a range of other services for landlords including smoke alarm/ heat detector/fire alarms installation and testing as well as maintenance and repair services.