|What Electrical responsibilities do
There are no laws that specifically cover
electrical safety in rented accommodation. However, your landlord should ensure
that the electrical equipment and installations in your home are safe.
Any electrical equipment provided by your
landlord must be safe, although there is no requirement for a safety
A good landlord should have an electrical
inspection carried out by an electrician before a new tenant moves in. If your
landlord has done this, each electrical appliance in the property should have a
sticker on the plug showing the date it was tested. If the appliances in your
accommodation have not been tested, you can ask your landlord to get an
inspection done, although they are under no obligation to do so. If you're
really concerned, you can get an inspection carried out yourself.
Your landlord is also responsible for
maintaining and repairing the wiring and all electrical installations in your
home that they have provided.
If you think the electrical equipment in
your accommodation is unsafe and your landlord refuses to do anything about it,
you should contact a local advice centre to see whether you can take action.
What are the dangers?
If electrical items in your home are unsafe, you could
be at risk of:
- electric shocks - severe electric shocks can cause
- electrical burns - these can require major surgery and
can be permanently damaging
- fire - every year, 12,500 fires are caused in UK homes
by electrical faults.
What are the danger signs?
You can also check for possible danger signs yourself.
- plugs or wall sockets which are overheating or are
scorched or cracked
- cables or wires which are loose, exposed or fraying
- a burning smell when appliances are switched on
- fuses which blow frequently.
If you are concerned about any of the electrical
installations or appliances in your home, speak to your landlord or call in an
How can I reduce the risks?
There are several things you can do to minimise risks of
electrical shocks or fires in your home. For example:
- Make sure cables from electrical appliances (including
extension cables) don't run underneath carpets or rugs.
- Don't overload wall sockets. If you need to use an
adaptor, use a multi-socket trailing adaptor, not a multi-way adaptor that plugs
straight into the socket.
- If you need to use an extension cable, don't use a
longer one than you need. Don't keep extension cables coiled, as they may
- Don't exceed the recommended bulb wattage for light
- Don't put too high a fuse in plugs
- Never use mains powered equipment in bathrooms or near
- Don't leave electrical appliances switched on or on
stand by when you're not using them - this will save you money as well as
- Electric blankets are a common cause of fires - the
Trading Standards Institute recommends that you get them serviced every three
- Make sure that your home has smoke alarms fitted and
that they are all in working order.
- Make sure you can access the the fuse box and meter
easily. Keep a torch nearby, so you can see what you're doing if the lights go
- Don't touch or use any electrical items that you think
- Plan what to do in case of fire and be aware of all
- Make sure that exit routes are always kept clear.
The NICEIC website has lots more useful information on
electrical safety in the home and garden.
What does an electrical
The NICEIC recommends that you should get your home
inspected by an approved electrical contractor every ten years. In addition,
landlords should get rental properties inspected before they are let out.
During the inspection, the electrical contractor will:
- check for potential electrical shock risks
- check for electrical fire hazards
- make sure your electrical circuits and equipment are
- make sure all the wiring is safe
- test all electrical appliances.
If the inspection report highlights any urgent problems,
you or your landlord will need to get them fixed as soon as possible.
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