Where do I find out more about landlord responsibilities for electrical safety?

Property Expert:
Stephen Ludlow
Director, ludlowthompson.com
Q: I keep reading conflicting information about checks being every 5 years, 10 years or when the tenant moves out. Is their any concise guide?

Pic: Electrical safety: landlords obligations 

Stephen's Response:

Annual electrical checks are not compulsory for private lettings, but it is a landlord's responsibility to maintain appliances to a safe standard. As it's a grey area, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is so concerned that many landlords are unaware of their full responsibilities and so has recently released a guide to help landlords.

Here is what the ESC landlord guide contains:

- Periodic Inspection, Testing & Reporting. This refers to the testing and inspection of existing electrical equipment. It is recommended to have checks at least at least every five years, or at the start of a new tenancy.

- Portable Appliances.  Check for a CE, or a BEAB approved mark. Perform a visual check, looking for signs of burning, loose parts, and damage. Ensure appliances are kept in a suitable place.

- Fire Alarms and Emergency Lighting.  These must be correct for each type of property, and properly maintained and checked.  Plan an emergency escape route.

- Certificates.  Certificates must be kept for all new installations, alterations or additions.  These will differ depending on the work performed on each specific property.  Fire alarms, emergency lighting, and portable appliances will all need certificates when first installed into a property.

- Finding an electrician.  Landlords are recommended to use an electrician registered with a government-approved scheme.  A list of recognised organisations is provided in the ESC guide. If you are using a letting managing agent they can arrange all these checks for you with approved suppliers.

Landlords should also make sure that their tenants are informed of their own responsibilities. The ESC has provided clear information that can easily be passed on to each new tenant. For full details, or to download a copy of the guide, visit the ESC website at the below links.


Neither ludlowthompson nor their ‘experts’ take any responsibility for any action or loss incurred by readers of these pages. The reader acts on advice at their own risk. Answers to questions are not exhaustive. Financial advice must always be sought from a professional financial adviser.


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