Keeping tenants safe
The law now requires you to get an Electrical Safety Certificate for your property. This certificate proves that the electrics on your buy-to-let property are safe, and that they won’t cause your tenants any physical harm.
The certificate is obtained via a five-yearly inspection, which must be carried out by a professional.
Here are some key facts to know about the certificate:
- You need to provide a copy of the certificate to the tenant. This is a legal obligation – failure to do so is regarded as a breach of the law. You have 28 days (after the receipt of the certificate) to do this.
- You must also supply a copy to the authorities if you’re asked to do so, and this must happen within seven days of the request being issued.
- All new tenants must be given a copy when they first move into your property.
Why is it necessary?
The certificate proves to tenants (existing and new) that the home is safe for them to live in. The professional inspector will assess a variety of different aspects of the electrics; such as wiring, fuse boxes, consumer units, sockets and plugs. They won’t test any appliances.
What to expect from your certification
The inspector will report on the following things:
- The safety of the electrics in the house (general comments)
- Potential problems
- Recommended work
They will use a code system to highlight the severity of the issue. This is:
1 – The electrics are already regarded as dangerous
2 – There’s a significant risk of injury
3 – There’s potential for the tenant to get injured
4 – The problem needs to be investigated further
5 – The problem isn’t major but some improvements could be made
If you receive any code numbers from 1-4, it’s a legal requirement to address them. If you’re given a 5, this is a recommended suggestion, and it’s up to you if you act on it or not. If any work is undertaken, you’ll need to confirm this with the tenant and the authorities, within 28 days of the work being carried out.
Are you exempt?
The new regulation applies to the majority of landlords, including those who run HMOs. However, a few scenarios may be exempt, such as:
- Student houses / halls
- Care homes
- Longer leases
If you’ve got a lodger in your house, the regulation is unlikely to apply to you either.
Do I have to comply?
Compliance is now a legal requirement, and you must arrange for the inspections to take place every five years. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £30,000. Remember that your lettings management company will be able to help with arranging inspections, obtaining the certificate, and distributing it to tenants and the authorities.