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FACT FILE - Part "P" Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)

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FACT FILE - Part "P" Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings) scroll down this page for more information.

Tenants safer under new government measures - March 2015

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties -Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis today (11 March 2015).

The move will help prevent up to 36 deaths and 1,375 injuries a year. The measure is expected to take effect from October 2015, and comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector. England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.

This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%. “The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection. “But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning. “People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm. “That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.”

Ensuring the safety of tenants

Other measures to support the private rented sector include investing £1 billion in building newly-built homes specifically for private rent, giving tenants support against rogue landlords and publishing a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy. Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed. And it’s in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.

Source: HM Government

Don't be caught with one of these in your rental property

September 2012 - The September edition of "Landlord & Buy-to-Let Magazine" ran a report "Electrical risk warning"

According to the report the high profile 2011 fires caused by faulty fridge-freezers highlights the need for landlords to be extra careful about checking appliances and plug sockets in rental property according to the insurance company LetRisks.

Electrical Safety Guide Lines from LetRisks

  • Warn tenants not to overload sockets and put adaptors into adaptors
  • Don't aatempt any repairs to the electrical wiring or appliances yourself - use a qualified electrician
  • Check that sockets, switches and light fittings are in good conditionwith no signs of damage such as cracking or burn marks
  • Check that leads and flexible cables on appliances aren't damaged or frayed.
  • Any electrical appliances provided by the agent or landlord should have up to date PAT - Prtable Appliance Test stickers on them (although not a legal requirement, it is recommended by the ESC)
  • Check to see if the fuse box has RCD protection. This is a life saving device that protects against electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires.
  • Replace old electrics e.g.fuse boxes with a wooden back; cables coated with black rubber, lead or fabric; old, round pin sockets, light switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards and light switches mounted on bathroom walls.

Cases of a tenant dying after the taps in her bath became live. According to the ESC - Electrical Safety Council, "Whilst landlords are legally obliged to provide an annual gas safety certificate, there is no equivalent legal obligation for electrical installations. The ESC recommends that agents and landlords should have a Periodic Inspection Report - PIR carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years, or on change of tenancy".

The Electrical Safety Council is an independent charity committed to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents.

The Electrical Safety Council have recently produced two documents on Electrical Safety which can be used by landlords and to answer their queries. Please feel free to download by clicking on the image below:

July 2011: - Leading safety charity, The Electrical Safety Council, launches new guide for landlords – FREE copies available now

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC), in collaboration with the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) and a number of leading UK housing associations, has produced a guide to electrical safety in the communal areas of residential properties in England & Wales.

Building on the success of the Landlords’ Guide to Electrical Safety, this Guide is intended to address electrical safety in communal areas (areas accessible by staff, residents, and others visiting the property).

The Guide aims to raise awareness among residential landlords - including housing associations, local authorities, private landlords and property management companies - of their legal obligations relating to electrical safety and provides guidance and advice on areas such as stairwells, corridors and boiler rooms. Find out more here.

Electrical Safety in Dwellings From 1 January 2005, people carrying out electrical work in homes and gardens in England and Wales have had to follow the new rules in the Building Regulations. These apply to all properties either let as holiday rentals, long term lettings or owner occupied (not let). The rules are set out in Part P Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings). Failure to comply with these Regulations is a criminal offence, which could result in a maximum fine of £5,000 and or imprisonment.

Why has the Government introduced the new rules?

To reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty electrical installations and to make it harder for 'cowboy builders' to leave electrical installations in an unsafe condition.

In very general terms these regulations require that works, repairs, maintenance etc., on "electrical installations", in certain areas of a property, are now known as "notifiable" works and as such must only be carried out by a "competent person".

Who is a "Competent Person"?

Someone who is currently registered with an approved self-certification scheme, which monitors and regulates his or her activities, competence etc.

The competent person can "self-certify" the relevant works and he (or she) then has a responsibility to provide the customer and the local authority building control department with a copy Certificate relating to the notifiable works. If your property is let out then you will need to maintain a copy of any such certificate in their management files for possible future reference.

Someone who is not a "competent person" could still do the works as long as they seek appropriate approval from their local authority Building Control department, before and after the works are carried out. In most cases an officer from the department will wish to visit the property and inspect the works and may require the applicant to submit suitable drawings or schematics.

What does an "Electrical Installation" mean?

Fixed electrical cables or fixed electrical equipment located on the consumer's side of the electricity supply meter in a dwelling or in the common parts of a building serving one or more dwellings; and that includes sheds, garages and greenhouses.

Non notifiable works:

Although you should take guidance from the Building Control department generally these would include repairs, replacements and maintenance; and additions or alterations to existing circuits outside kitchens and bathrooms: Replacing power sockets (white laminate with chrome for example), replacing a damaged power cable, replacing a light switch or ceiling rose, adding lighting points, sockets and fused spurs to existing circuits as long as they are not in a special location or special installation.

Special Locations / installations: Kitchen - bathroom/shower room, garden lighting and swimming pools.

When the Notifiable work is carried out Will I get a certificate that the electrical work meets the requirements of the Building Regulations?

Yes - a qualified installer should give you a signed BS 7671 electrical safety certificate for all types of electrical work. If you use a registered installer for notifiable work, the operator of the registration scheme will send you a Building Regulations compliance certificate. If you use an unregistered installer for notifiable work, the Building Control Service will inspect the work to check that it complies with the Building Regulations before issuing a completion certificate.

What will happen if the owner does not follow the Building Regulations?

  • The electrical installation might not be safe.
  • You will have no record of the work done.
  • You may have difficulty selling your home if you do not have the right electrical safety certificates.
  • Your local authority's Building Control Department may insist that you put right faulty work.

Where can I get more information?

From your local authority's Building Control Department who publish a free 'Explanatory Booklet on the Building Regulations'. Or visit www.odpm.gov.uk/explanatory-booklet for a copy

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. ©jml property Services 04-05

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See also

Landlords Letting Advice Guide Click Here

Housing Act 2004 Click Here

Inventories in UK Rental Market Click Here

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) UK Click Here

               Condensation Problems Click Here

Property News - A 2006 property boom in the UK predicted on back of pension reform - March 2005 Click Here

Problems with Accepting Housing Benefit in England and Wales - Article by Philip Suter Click Here

Arbitration - April 2008 - by David Smith - Pain Smith Legal update Click Here

See also

How to present your rental property for letting Click Here

How not to present your rental property for letting Click Here

Buy to Let UK Click Here

Buy to Let Europe Click Here

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SEE: Personal safety for Letting Agent and Estate Agents


See Landlord fined £5,500 after double carbon monoxide poisoning in Hackney, London - October 2008

and

Many UK Landlords facing fines - Blog March 2010



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