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Electrical safety in rented homes

You landlord must make sure your home is safe and fit to live in during your tenancy.

This includes councils and housing associations.

They must keep wiring and electrical things like plug and light sockets in safe working order.

As a tenant, you must:

  • report electrical faults as soon as you spot a problem

  • let people into your home to do repairs and safety checks

  • make sure your own appliances are safe, for example, kettles and hairdryers

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

Electrical safety checks in private rented homes

Private landlords must make sure that all electrical installations like light and plug sockets are checked and tested by a registered electrician.

The electrician writes a report for the landlord. You should get a copy.

The check should take place at least once every 5 years.

If your tenancy started on or after 1 June 2020

  • a check should have been done before you moved in

  • you should have been given a copy of the report

Write to your landlord and ask for the most recent report if you did not get it. They must give you a copy within 4 weeks.

If your tenancy started before 1 June 2020

Your landlord must have made sure a check was done by 1 April 2021.

If the property was built or rewired in the last 5 years, your landlord can give you an electrical installation certificate (EIC) instead. They do not have to arrange a safety check.

If you are a lodger, your landlord does not have to carry out electrical safety checks but they can if they want to make sure the home is safe.

What is tested during a check?

The electrician tests and looks at the fixed electrical installations in the property.

For example:

  • wiring

  • plug sockets

  • light fittings

  • fuse boxes

  • electric showers

  • extractor fans

They can make any serious hazards safe before they leave your home.

They do not check the safety of items that can be moved around unless your landlord asks them to do a portable appliance (PAT) test. Items that can be moved around are things like TVs, fridges, washing machines, kettles or toasters,

PAT testing is not a legal requirement but your landlord can ask for it to be done to keep your home safe.

Find a registered electrician on the Electrical Safety First website.

The electrical safety report (EICR)

The electrician gives your landlord an electrical installation condition report (EICR).

Your landlord must give you a copy within 4 weeks of the check.

The report says either that

  • the property meets the safety standards

  • more repairs or checks need to be done

The report also says when the next electrical safety check should be done.

When more work is needed

Check the EICR to see if the electrician has written a code next to any of the things checked like plugs or light sockets.

CodeWhat it means
FIFurther investigation needed.
C1Dangerous installation. Not suitable for continued use. Repairs needed.
C2Potentially dangerous installation. Not suitable for continued use. Repairs needed.
C3Improvements recommended but not required.

Codes C1, C2 or FI mean that the repairs or checks must be done n 4 weeks or sooner if the report say this.

Your landlord must write to you and the council within 4 weeks to say the work has been done.

Code C3 means the installation passes the safety check but the electrician recommends your landlord should do some improvements.

Disruption during repair work

Some electrical safety work can disrupt your daily life.

You have the right to stay in your home while the work takes place. The landlord does not usually have to give you anywhere else to stay.

Find out about moving out temporarily during repairs.

You could ask your landlord to reduce the rent while the work takes place. Keep emails or messages to show what you agree.

You do not have the right to end a fixed term tenancy early but you could talk to your landlord about leaving early if you feel you cannot stay.

If your private landlord will not fix a safety problem

Contact your council's private renting team if your landlord will not arrange safety checks or carry out work after a check.

They could send you to the environmental health team who must take action if there's a safety problem.

If it is not safe or reasonable to live there, you can ask the council's homeless team for help.

Ending your tenancy or withholding rent

Unfortunately you do not have the right to end a fixed term tenancy early or to not pay your rent rent even if your landlord has broken the law.

For example, if they:

  • do not arrange an electrical safety check

  • refuse to fix problems found in a safety check

You could talk to your landlord about ending your tenancy early, or getting your rent reduced.

You can give notice if you want to leave a rolling or periodic tenancy.

You could think about taking legal action if problems cannot be sorted out, or if you cannot stay in your home because it is unsafe.

If you rent from a council or housing association

Councils and housing associations do not have to carry out electrical safety checks but they must:

  • make sure your home is safe and fit to live in

  • fix or look into electrical problems when you report them

Report electrical faults to your landlord as soon as you notice them.

Make a formal complaint to your landlord if they do not get back to you or take too long to deal with the problem.

Last updated: 2 April 2024

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