Transitional Electrical Rules for Landlords in Edinburgh

Any tenant under a new tenancy commencing on or after 1 December 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR before the tenancy commences.

Any tenant under an existing tenancy at 30 November 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR by 1 December 2016 unless their tenancy ends before that date.

An EICR completed on or after 1 January 20127 completed by a competent person is acceptable, whether or not it in includes a description and location for appliances inspected.

However, to be acceptable all EICRs completed on or after 1 December 2015 must have a PAT record attached to it that shows their description and location and a certificate for any remedial work that has been done.

The EICR forms were introduced by Amendment 1 to BS 7671:2008 (IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition), which came into effect on 1 January 2012.

Electrical Good Practice for Landlords

The following guidance is not part of a landlord’s statutory duty but is recommended as good practice.

Fitting one or more RCDs (Residual Current Devices) into the consumer unit can protect a tenant against electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fires.  An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.  For some properties the absence of an RCD may result in a C1 or C2 classification and if so must be remedied to comply with the repairing standard.

Before providing portable appliances to tenants, a landlord should check that each appliance has at least the CE Mark, which is product manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European Union legislation.   Appliances with additional safety marks, such as the British Standard Kitemark or the BEAB Approved Mark tend to provide greater assurance of electrical safety.  The landlord must verify that any secondhand equipment is safe. This will require relevant inspection and testing to be carried out.

Care should also be taken to avoid counterfeit electrical products.  Counterfeit electrical goods almost always contain incorrect or faulty parts that can overheat or break just days after purchase, increasing the risk of fire or electric shock.

Where electrical equipment is provided, tenants should always be told to read and follow the equipment manufacturer’s instructions.  Copies of the instructions should be left in the property so the tenants can refer to them as and when required.

If a tenancy lasts more than a year, it is good practice to carry out annual visual inspections to detect any damage, deterioration, wear and tear, signs of overheating, loose fixings, or missing parts that may lead to danger.

Landlords’ visual checks should include checks on:

  • Fuse boxes (consumer units) for signs of damage,
  • Light switches and electrical sockets for any signs of damage or overloading,
  • Cables to make sure that they are safe and are not damaged,
  • Electrical appliances for signs of damage and deterioration and to confirm that plugs and cables are secure, and
  • Additionally, it should be confirmed that the following devices operate when their integral test button is pressed at time intervals as specified by the manufacturer of the equipment:
    1. Residual Current Devices (quarterly check)
    2. Smoke or heat detectors
    3. Carbon monoxide detectors.

Landlords and tenants should also regularly check that any electrical appliances in the house are not subject to any current product recall notices or safety alerts.  A significant number of recalls for electrical appliances occur because the items are at risk of catching fire or causing electrocution.  It is good practice to register products at the address of the landlord or the letting agent to ensure that recall paperwork is actioned. Alternatively, landlords can check a free list of products that have recently been recalled by manufacturers which is provided by Electrical Safety First. Landlords can register appliances to ensure that they receive notice of any recalls.

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