Our and your responsibility to keep tenants safe
With winter's arrival, tenants need a warm and well-lit home, which is why energy and safety companies have been organising initiatives to raise awareness of health and safety measures. ‘Gas Safety Week’, ‘Electrical Fire Safety Week’ and ‘Home Security Month’ all exist to promote both our legal obligations and best practice to ensure your properties are safe for tenants to live in.
Gas safety is fairly straightforward; we simply need to ensure appliances are checked each year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer and the associated documentation is provided to the tenant.
Our responsibilities around electrical safety are less clear. According to Electrical Safety First there are 70 deaths and a staggering 350,000 serious injuries each year caused by faulty electrics and electrical equipment. Interestingly, private tenants are statistically more likely to experience an electric shock.
In terms of our legal obligations, the only specification is that electrical equipment and wiring is kept in good condition and is safe. As to what constitutes being ‘kept in good condition’, some experts recommend an electrical safety check every 5 years; the recent government ‘How to Rent’ Guide suggests this is carried out every 5 years and the newly published Private Rated Sector (PRS) Code states best practice is every 5 years; the most cautious experts suggest an electrical check after each tenant leaves.
At Savills, we regularly review our policy based on the Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations) and take advice on best practice from organisations such as Electrical Safety First.
To keep your tenants safe, we recommend:
- 5-yearly checks on the fixed wiring (unless the property has a new installation in which case the first check will be dependant upon the recommendation on the certificate or 10 years).
- Annual checks on portable appliances, such as microwaves and kettles
-That all work is carried out by a Part P qualified electrician who is a member of NAPIT, NICEIC, ELECSA or ECA
We would also suggest you keep a careful record of all work carried out, together with receipts and certificates, so that, should anything go wrong, you can prove you have taken all reasonable steps to ensure your tenants’ safety.
For more information on lettings and electrics, read our article “Electrical safety remains shocking”.