As a landlord or holiday home rentals owner, you will likely be aware of your responsibility with your insurance provider to have your home electrically certified or PAT tested, and the frequency that it is required – as a homeowner it isn’t always so clear. When it comes to what we should or shouldn’t be doing regarding electrical safety, there is a lot of information out there, some of it conflicting and confusing. In this guide, we look at best practice and ask if it is enough just to satisfy your obligations?
There are no specific laws pertaining to the maintenance of your electricity. However, there are regulations that do relate directly to the condition and upkeep of both fixed and portable electrical items in let properties.
For any new or altered electrical work, by law you must adhere to Building Regulations, Part P - notifiable works – which is designed to protect consumers by ensuring any and all major electrical work meets with the UK national standard BS 7671.
Any new electrical installation, replacement of a consumer unit, additions, or alterations to existing circuits in specific locations (such near a shower unit), is considered as ‘notifiable work’. With the exception of a few types of minor changes, all electrical work must be carried out and certified by;
1. A competent and trained person - in this case, a qualified registered electrician with an Electrical Installation Certificate or Minor Work Certificate that confirms that the work meets BS 7671.
2. A qualified unregistered electrician who must notify prior to commencing and report any work to the local-authority building-control, with a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate that confirms that the work meets the Building Regulations.
It is important to ensure your home meets all Building Regulations for your property insurance policy to remain valid. For more information regarding Part P of Building Regulations in the UK, see the Electrical Safety First webpage.
Although the process of certification for any electrical installations will largely be the same, the rules and regulations for domestic properties vs those that are let do differ.
Although there are no specific requirements to have your home electrical systems and items checked periodically, it is strongly recommended you have regular inspections in order to keep you, your family, and the property safe. Electrical certification body, NICEIC, recommend that you have an electrical installation condition report (EICR) carried out every ten years.
However, based on the condition of your circuitry and professional opinion of the electrical contractor carrying out the inspection, you may subsequently be recommended to have more frequent inspections, with certificates typically issued for three, five or ten years.
It is also commonplace for a certificate to be required during the sale/purchase of a property, particularly where works have been carried out to ensure it complies with Part P of Building Regulations.
Recent legislation now means that there is a mandatory requirement for landlords in the private rented sector in England and Scotland, to have electrical safety checks carried out every 5 years, which will be reflected in your landlord’s insurance policy. As with the private homeowner report, you may be required to have more frequent checks depending on the condition of your circuitry and professional opinion of the electrical contractor carrying out the inspection. It is also recommended that you have additional checks carried out between tenancies to ensure the property meets the required standards so as not to pose any hazards to tenants.
The safety requirements required for holiday lets do not have mandatory requirements by law. However, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that all appliances and fixed installations are safe and not hazardous to guests. It is recommended that, like landlords, you renew your electrical safety certificate every five years. With more frequent turnover of guests, however, you may wish to have visual inspections or PAT testing on portable items more frequently.
Even if you do not rent out your holiday home, most insurance policies will require that you have a valid electrical certificate for the property.
There are also warning signs of faulty electrics that you can look out for during your own inspections that would indicate whether you require further checks by a professional electrical contractor. You should never attempt to carry out any electrical works yourself and always employ the services of a qualified and competent person.
The information provided in this article is correct at the time of publication, however, is not intended to be an exhaustive list and if in doubt you should always seek advise from a qualified electrician.
Let’s first start by looking at the risks of having poor or faulty electrical wiring and/or electrical items. Most likely, the first things that spring to mind when thinking of the potential hazards around ‘dodgy electrics’ are fire and electrical shocks. While these are the most hazardous but real risks, there are others that can lead to costly or inconvenient outcomes, such as overloading that damages circuit wiring. This can lead to expensive replacement of electrical items, or even a prolonged period without electricity whilst disruptive re-wiring is carried out.
It is also essential that you take out Home, Holiday Home or Landlords Insurance to provide protection in the event that something goes awry. It is important to review your insurance policy to ensure that you are aware of restrictions that apply to cover and comply with any conditions that may be applicable.
James Cooper is a respected industry leader with around 10 years' experience in the home and property insurance sector. He works across a broad range of insurance product and policy development and delivery, including product development; customer sales and marketing; and P&L accountability.
Date: April 14, 2021
Category: Home and Property