While mandatory electrical testing in buy-to-let properties hasn't been confirmed by the government yet, it is coming.
So, if you haven't been getting the electrics in your rental property checked at least every five years, our advice is to get into the habit now. As soon as electrical testing is made mandatory, you'll be breaking the law.
Currently, unless you let a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), which would fall under the five-year check laws, you 'only' need to ensure your rental property's electrics are 'safe'.
That means 'safe' when your tenants move in and 'safe' throughout the length of the tenancy.
A LANDLORD'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY
While not yet law, as a landlord you should be taking your responsibility for electrical safety seriously. Very seriously, in fact.
Not only will regular electrical checks help protect your tenants, they will also protect you. In the event of an electrical accident or fire, you would need to be able to prove, via records of checks, that you have taken electrical safety seriously.
As well as ensuring your rental property's electrics are safe when a tenant moves in, you should carry out regular checks throughout the tenancy and make sure appliances supplied by you have the CE mark.
Martin & Co Camberley also recommends you have an electrical installation condition report (EICR) carried out in your buy-to-let every five years. This will soon become law, so start as you mean to go on.
THE EICR REPORT EXPLAINED
An EICR is a report prepared on a property's fixed wiring. Appliance testing comes under portable appliance testing (PAT) - more on that later.
During an EICR, a qualified electrical should check the fuseboard, wiring and electrical accessories at your property, reporting on faults or deviations from Wiring Standards.
The electrician should check the standard of earthing and bonding, as well as devices for protection against fire or electric shock. They should also check for electrical wear and tear that could place tenants in danger and look for exposed wiring or damage to electrical fixtures and fittings.
PAT TESTING FOR LANDLORDS
Portable appliance testing (PAT) is not a legal requirement for landlords. However, like an EICR, it is advisable best practice.
PAT testing involves inspecting any moveable electrical devices and making sure they are safe to use. As a landlord, if you supply electrical appliances for your tenants, it's a good idea to get them checked.
Again, this protects you as well as your tenants.
Most PAT testing can be done visually. Check for clear signs of wear and tear that could be dangerous. Check cabling and plugs and make sure screws are well fitted and there are no signs of burning.
If in doubt, call in a qualified electrician to carry out a PAT test. It doesn't cost a fortune, but does provide vital peace of mind.
LANDLORD ELECTRICAL SAFETY CHECKS
As well as having PAT testing and an EICR carried out, landlords should make regular inspections of electrics in their buy-to-let properties.
This can be a visual check, perhaps every quarter, and should include checks on:
* Fuse boxes
* Electrical fixtures and fittings
Also make your tenants aware of electrical dangers and provide guidance where necessary. Tenants often have a habit of overloading sockets - provide guidance advising against this.
Finally, insist your tenants inform you or your managing agent if they are concerned about the property's electrics or find any faults during the tenancy.
This will enable the problem to be fixed as soon as possible, keeping everyone safe in your rental property.
Need advice on landlord responsibilities, legal and otherwise...? Chat to one of Martin & Co Camberley's lettings experts today!