Tenants and landlords both have responsibilities – when it goes wrong the consequences can be deadly and dangerous.
Here are a few literally shocking examples found during a recent end-of-tenancy safety check by the team at Barton Electrical.
In the photos below, the shower which is an instantaneous over sink water heater has been adapted as a shower and is wired off the live side of the mains isolator by two single conductors going up the stairs to the shower. This means that the shower is not fused or earthed and the only fuse is the 100 amp service fuse. Deadly and Dangerous.
At the same property we also discovered a burnt-out shaving point and light, at this point the cable has been broken into with tape joints to feed the led bathroom lights. Deadly and dangerous.
These were just two of more than twenty serious electrical safety issues found at one property. I know this may seem extreme but it is not unusual.
Tenants and landlords both have responsibilities, so let’s take a look at what they are so you know where you stand and what your rights are.
Landlord safety responsibilities
Landlords have several responsibilities but first and foremost, they need to make sure that the property being rented out, is safe to live in.
If you already rent out property then it’s more than likely you’ll be familiar with your obligations but if it’s something you’re considering, then bear in mind you’ll need to:
- Have an annual gas safety check carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. It’s also your responsibility to maintain gas appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure electrical appliances are safe and come with the ‘CE’ mark which shows it meets European safety standards. Checks should be done by a qualified electrician.
- Fit and test smoke, and carbon monoxide
- Have an energy performance certificate.
- Protect your tenant’s deposit in a government backed scheme.
- Check your tenant has the right to rent in the UK.
If you rent out an HMO (house of multiple occupancy) then you will also need to organise what’s known as a ‘periodic inspection’ on anything electrical, every five years. There’s some helpful advice about what this entails at Electrical Safety First, periodic inspection explained.
Maintenance for landlords
It’s a good idea to carry out a full inventory and go through this with your tenant before they settle in. Your inventory should include everything you’re supplying (including appliances, furniture and utensils) and what condition it’s in.
You’re also responsible for looking after the structure of the property – such as chimneys, drains, toilets, as well as the heating and hot water system.
It’s wise to have a tenancy agreement which sets out the terms and conditions for both you and your tenant including what each of you are responsible for.
As a landlord, you’ll also need appropriate landlord insurance which covers the structure and permanent fixtures and fittings. If your property’s part or fully furnished, you should consider contents cover too.
You can also add extra features to a landlord insurance policy to protect your investment – for example, rent guarantee, malicious damage and alternative accommodation cover.
As well as keeping the property clean, you’ll be expected to carry out basic day to day maintenance – for instance, changing light bulbs or replacing batteries in smoke alarms. If anything does need repairing, or you’re worried that something isn’t working properly, then let your landlord know as soon as possible.
If you damage the property (even by accident), or any of the contents that belong to your landlord then you’ll be expected to pay for repairs or replacement (this doesn’t include normal wear and tear).
It’s also your responsibility to insure your own personal belongings including any furniture and appliances.
Expert help and advice
Needless to say, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a landlord, homeowner or tenant – if you’ve got any electrical concerns, ask a qualified professional for help.
At Barton Electrical, we pride ourselves on the service we deliver and as an independent, family business, our reputation means everything – which is why you can count on us to be on hand. Contact us any time using our app, email email@example.com or call us on 07976 685746.