The final date to comply with new electrical safety requirements for privately rented flats and houses is fast approaching.
With effect from 1 December 2016, all private landlords will need to ensure that their occupied rented properties have an electrical installation condition report (EICR) to ensure the safety of the electrical installation in the property. The need to ensure the electrics are safe is not new, but the need for certification is a new requirement.
Changes were first made on 1 December 2015, but where the same tenant remained in the property the electrical safety check did not need to be done until 1 December 2016. During the course of the last year, if a new tenant has moved in to the property then an electrical safety check should have been carried out.
A copy of the report must also be provided to the tenant. In addition, if any portable electrical goods, fridge, washing machine, lamps, vacuum cleaner etc., are provided as part of the let, then these also need to be tested for safety under what is known as portable appliance testing (PAT).
These checks will need to be completed at least every 5 years. Smoke detection is included in the electrical safety checks and private landlords should have already complied with changes to Building Regulations in 2013, which increased the number and type of smoke and heat detectors in private rented properties.
The new requirements mean that a smoke detector must be fitted in the living room, in circulation spaces such as halls and landings and a heat detector must be installed in the kitchen. Smoke detectors must mains detectors and be interlinked. Battery operated smoke detectors do not meet current requirements.
There is also a requirement to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in any room where a carbon fuel appliance is installed. This includes wood/multi fuel stoves, gas and oil boilers, open and gas fires. CO detectors can be battery operated and do not need to be hard wired, but should have a sealed unit battery.
Smoke detectors and CO detectors have a shelf life and landlords should ensure that they know when these need to be replaced, which is usually between 5 and 10 years. There will be a label on the alarm to confirm this.
Landlords must comply with these requirements which from part of the Repairing Standards set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and any failures can lead to action by a tenant or the local authority through the Private Rented Housing Panel and where there is a failure to comply, then a landlord’s fit and proper status can be reviewed. Removal from the register can have serious consequences.