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It’s been said many times before, but it’s something that can never be said enough – as a landlord, you have a duty of care towards your tenants; an obligation to keep them safe and away from any harm.

When it comes to electrical safety, though, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of complacency.

Electrical safety is not something you can ignore or cut corners on, as this could lead to catastrophic circumstances. Rather, it’s an area that should be treated with the utmost seriousness.

Landlords risk putting themselves at serious financial risk if they fail to act on their electrical obligations, in the form of fines and invalidated insurance.

You could also face serious trouble if an electrical-based accident occurred in one of your rental properties.

As usual with these things, it’s really not worth putting your tenants or yourself at risk.

What are your responsibilities as a landlord?

There are a number of things landlords must, by law, adhere to. This includes making sure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in. Any electrical installations must then be maintained in a safe condition for the whole tenancy.

In Scotland, new guidance on electrical safety requirements took effect from 1 December 2015.

Under these requirements, landlords have to have fixed wiring (Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) checks carried out at least every five years.

The requirements apply from the following dates:

- 1st December 2015 – for any new tenancies entered into on or after this date (this includes current tenants signing a new lease)

- 1st 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 a PAT report.

Everything in the property which uses the electrical supply must be on either EICR or PAT, unless it belongs to the tenant. 

Electrical appliances provided in rental property must have at least the CE marking. (The CE marking is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law).

What can you do to make your tenants safer?

Landlords should ensure that their property has the proper levels of RCD protection. RCD’s are explained in more detail here.

And lastly, no corner cutting. When it comes to electricity, taking the DIY approach is never advisable – unless, of course, you happen to be a registered electrician.

If you’re not, employ the services of someone who is to carry out any electrical work for you. Make sure they are reputable and have all the necessary qualifications.

At Letting Solutions we can help with all aspects of letting a property. As West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we have the experience and know-how to deal with whatever issues property management throws up.

Please contact us on 01506 496006 for more information.

Alternatively, if you would like to know how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace, check out our online instant valuation tool.

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