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AROUND THE HOME

Electricity is part of our lives. We use it from the moment we wake up and throughout the day....

As a result, we sometimes forget how powerful and dangerous it can be.

Follow our advice to stay safe around the home - particularly in the kitchen, bathroom and garden. You'll also find tips on electrical DIY, what to do in the event of a flood and a handy "Jargon buster" to give you a plain English explanation of the electrics in your home.

Electrical items

Product misuse is the top cause of accidental fires in British homes and the number has increased by over a third since 2009.

Millions of people commit basic electric safety 'blunders' in the home without realising that they are exposing themselves to the risk of fire or electric shock.

Modern living means we are using more and more electrical appliances in the home. Just twenty years ago, the average UK home would have had a hi-fi system and one TV or video. Today, it is more likely that there are at least two TVs, a DVD player, a satellite receiver, games console, microwave, computer and more. So, the risk of electrical accidents in the home is much higher than before.

Our simple tips will help you to stay safe when using electrical items.

For Landlords

Electrical Safety First has found that landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, from fines and invalidated insurance, through not acting on their electrical safety obligations.

Landlords are also putting millions of UK private tenants at risk of serious accident or fire. We have clarified your obligations for electrical safety in rental properties and provide a range of resources to help you keep your tenants safe.

Your responsibilities as a landlord

Landlords are required by law to ensure:
  • That the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration.
  • That a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years.
  • If your property is not an HMO, you are not legally obliged to do this. However, we recommend that a periodic inspection and test is carried out by a registered electrician on your rental properties at least every five years.
  • That any appliance provided is safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law).
To meet these requirements a landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.

Electrical Safety First recommends ...

  • Making sure that your property has adequate RCD protection
  • Using a registered electrician for any work on your property
  • Carrying out regular safety checks on the electrical appliances provided as part of the rental agreement
  • Downloading the 'Home Electrical Safety Check' smartphone app

Landlords' Guide

The Landlords' Guide to Electrical Safety sets out your legal obligations and our recommendations for keeping your tenants and properties safe. This booklet replaces the previous three publications:
  • Landlords' Guide to Electrical Safety in England and Wales
  • Landlords' Guide to Electrical Safety in Scotland
  • Electrical Safety in Communal Areas of Residential Properties

For Tenants

Tenants - stay safe in your rented home

Every year around 70 deaths and 350,000 injuries in UK homes are caused by faulty electrics and electrical equipment.  Almost half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity. And if you live in a privately rented property, statistics show that you are at a higher risk of electric shock.

There is confusion amongst landlords and tenants over who has responsibility for electrical safety in rented properties.

By law, your landlord must ensure that electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.

And as a tenant, you should feel obliged to flag electrical problems as soon as they appear, as well as maintain any electrical items you bring into the house.

Ask your landlord for:

  • A report confirming that the electrical installation has been assessed and is safe to use (called an Electrical Installation Condition Report, previously referred to as a Periodic Inspection Report or PIR). Electrical Safety First recommends that a periodic inspection and test of the electrical installation should be carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years or on change of tenancy.
  • Certification confirming that any recent electrical work meets the UK national standards BS 7671
  • If you have reported a problem to your landlord and he or she has refused to put the situation right or ignored your request, you should contact your local authority who will be able to help you. Local authorities will ensure a landlord is meeting their legal obligations and can take enforcement action against them.
 

Please don't ever try to carry out your own electrical repairs.