ISSUE 37

Electrical Safety Checks

From December this year, all landlords will be required to have an electrical safety inspection, carried out by a competent person, in their rented property. 

In the poll question in edition 36 of Inside Letting, we asked readers if they were aware of the criteria or evidence required to ensure that persons are competent to carry out such inspections.  63% replied: “No”.

SAL 2015The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) discusses the criteria for competent persons and the requirement for landlords with regard to electrical safety checks.

Under the new requirement, landlords will have to have fixed wiring (Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) checks carried out at least every five years. This will apply from 1 December 2015 for any new tenancies entered into on or after this date (this includes current tenants signing a new lease), and from 1 December 2016 for existing tenancies.

The EICR report must include an appliance check report (a Portable Appliance Test or PAT). PAT checks are required on appliances provided by the landlord, but not those belonging to the tenant.

Anything that is not permanently connected to the electrical installation should be on the PAT report. Everything in the property which uses the electrical supply must be on either the EICR or the PAT report, unless it belongs to tenant. It is advisable to have the checks carried out more frequently than five yearly if recommended by an electrician.

It is a requirement that landlords ensure that the electricians they use are competent. Electricians should be a member of SELECT or NICEIC or be able to complete the checklist in Annex A of the guidance.

EICRs and PATs carried out from 1 December 2015 must be documented on the forms specified on pages 12 and 14 of the guidance in order to be acceptable under the regulations. In addition, all appliances checked must have test labels placed on them.

Enforcement of the electrical testing requirements is the responsibility of the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP). The PRHP can issue a “Repairing Standard Enforcement Order” and ultimately a rent penalty for noncompliance, which is a criminal offence.

SAL has been working closely with the government officials drafting the guidance and has been successful in ensuring that it allows:

  • adequate lead-in time between the publication of the guidance and the deadline for compliance
  • for PAT testing to be carried out by a landlord/letting agent provided they have undergone relevant training, such as that provided by Landlord Accreditation Scotland (see Annex C of the guidance for details)
  • the PAT check to be carried out at a different time to the EICR check, provided both are carried out at least every 5 years. It is best practice to carry out the PAT check annually or based on the frequency recommended by your electrician.
  • for landlords to be required to take only reasonable steps to ensure that electrical items in common areas (such as stairwells, or electrical gates on an underground car park) are safe
  • for EICR checks carried out on or after 1 January 2012 by a competent electrician to be acceptable, even if they do not include an appliance check. For example, an EICR carried out on 30 November 2015 without PAT checks would still be valid for up to 5 years, to end November 2020.
  • checklist to be completed by an electrician to demonstrate competence in cases where they are not a member of SELECT or NICEIC
  • new build/newly rewired properties to meet the standard provided an in-date electrical installation certificate is in place.

Properties with a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence will require EICR and PAT testing that complies with HMO standards. Check the Scottish Government's website for compliance with HMO standards.

All landlords and letting agents are advised to read the guidance in full to familiarise themselves with the detail of the requirements.The full wording of the guidance can be read on the PRHP website.

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For more information visit
www.edinburgh.gov.uk/letwise
phone David Ross on 0131 469 5061

email insideletting@edinburgh.gov.uk

Until September 2010, Inside Letting existed as a printed magazine only. You can view these printed issues in PDF format by clicking here.

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