Electrical safety in rented homes

Find out about landlord responsibilities for electrical safety and how to make sure your rented home is safe.

Electrical safety rules for all tenancies

Councils, housing associations and private landlords must make sure your home is safe and fit to live in throughout your tenancy.

They must keep wiring and electrical installations in safe working order.

Installations include things like plug sockets, fuse boxes, light fittings, electric water heaters and heating systems.

This applies to almost all tenancies even if it's not mentioned in your agreement. 

Electrical safety checks for private tenancies

From 1 July 2020, private landlords must make sure that all electrical installations are inspected and tested by a registered electrician.

The electrician will produce an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

The report will either:

  • confirm that all installations meet the required safety standards
  • tell the landlord to undertake further investigative or repair work within 28 days

The report also states when the next electrical safety check is due. Checks must be carried out at least every 5 years, or sooner if the report says so.

Your landlord must give you a copy of the report within 28 days of the inspection.

When an electrical safety check must be done by

For private tenancies starting on or after 1 June 2020, the first check must be done before your tenancy starts. 

A prospective landlord must give you a copy of the most recent report before you move in or if you ask for it in writing. 

For private tenancies that started before 1 June 2020, your landlord has until 1 April 2021 to make sure the first check is done.

Electrical safety checks aren't required if you live with your landlord as a lodger. 

Portable appliances and equipment

Your landlord may ask a qualified electrician to carry out portable appliance (PAT) testing on any electrical equipment they have supplied with tenancy. For example: TVs, white goods, kettles or toasters.  

The electrician will safety test the appliances in your home and leave a sticker on the plug to show when it was tested and when the next PAT test is due. 

PAT testing is not a legal requirement for landlords but it's a recommended way for them to comply with their obligation to keep your home safe during the tenancy.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

You're responsible for:

  • reporting electrical faults to your landlord as soon as you spot a problem
  • allowing access to your home for inspections
  • the safety of your own appliances

You can carry out a visual safety check but don't try to do your own electrical repairs.

Reporting problems

Find out how to report repairs to a:

Access to your home

You should allow access to your home for: 

  • general maintenance inspections
  • electrical safety checks if you're a private renter

You should get at least 24 hours' notice of an inspection.

Check an electrician is registered to carry out inspections, installations or repair work.

Find out more about access for repairs and inspections including guidance during the coronavirus outbreak.

If your landlord won't deal with a safety problem

Your next steps depend on who your landlord is and how serious the problem is.

Private renters

Most councils have a private rented housing team.

This team is usually your first point of contact at the council if you're having problems with a private landlord. They may refer you on to the environmental health team who must take action if there's a safety problem in your home.

You should be able to find contact details on your council website, usually within the housing or homes section.

Find your council website on GOV.UK

Council and housing association tenants

You can complain to your council or housing association if they take too long to respond to an electrical safety problem you've reported.

You can complain to the Housing Ombudsman if the situation remains unresolved.

If the problem is very serious

If conditions in your home are so bad that it's not safe to carry on living there, you can:

These are usually last resort options when other ways to get your home made safe have failed.

Last updated 25 June 2020 | © Shelter

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