Electrical Safety

The electricity supplied to our homes is a vital service but can be extremely dangerous.  Poorly wired appliances and damaged and old wiring and cables can endanger lives.  Whether you are a homeowner, landlord or tenant it is important that you know the electrical supply serving your home is safe.

Electrical installation work must only be carried out by people who have the knowledge, skill and experience needed to avoid danger to themselves and others.  It is easy to make an electrical circuit but it is far harder to make the circuit work safely.  To find an electrician visit the Trader Register website.

What are the minimum standards?

The electrical wiring, switches, sockets and all supplied electrical equipment must be safe and in good working order.  The design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations are controlled under Part P of the Building Regulations

Should I get the electrical wiring of my home checked?

Landlords have a duty to ensure that the electrical wiring and any appliances that are provided with a property they rent out are safe and in a good condition.  Homeowners should, however, also ensure that their electrical wiring is safe.  We recommend that both homeowners and landlords ensure that a full Electrical Inspection Report to assess the electrical safety of their home is undertaken.  The report should provide details about how often the electrics of your home should be tested from then on.

An electrician who is registered with one of the government-approved providers should complete this report (and any installation work following the report recommendations).  Such electricians work to UK national safety standards and will give you a safety certificate to confirm that their work has been designed, built, inspected and tested in line with that standard.  You should look around for competitive quotes for this report as prices may vary.

If you are a tenant worried about the safety of the electrical wiring you should first speak to your landlord.  If you are not happy with your landlord’s response you should contact our Housing Standards Team on 01785 619000.

Should I get the electrical appliances in my home checked?

If you are worried about the safety of an electrical appliance at home you should stop using it straight away. The law does not require portable equipment to be formally tested and in most cases routine visual checks to make sure there is no damage is sufficient. PAT testing is a good idea for equipment that is routinely knocked or dropped such as some DIY tools.

However, landlords have a duty to ensure that any electrical equipment they supply is safe.  This applies to both new and second-hand appliances, and will cover items such as lamps, televisions, radios, irons, washing machines, microwaves, refrigerators and other kitchen equipment.

In order to ensure safety the landlord is recommended to take the following precautions:

  • Items should be examined before each new tenancy as part of the inventory process
  • Records should be made of equipment at the property, together with details/dates of any examinations
  • Each appliance should be checked at reasonable intervals, bearing in mind how often the appliance is likely to be used e.g. checks every 6-12 months
  • Give tenants written instructions and ensure that they know how to use all electrical equipment safely
  • If there are any doubts about the safety of an item, remove it from use

If you are a tenant worried about the safety of any electrical appliance, you should stop using it straight away.  If the landlord supplied the appliance speak to them in the first instance about your concerns.  If you are not happy with your landlord’s response you should contact our Housing Standards Team on 01785 619000.