New Electrical Safety Laws for Scottish Landlords

New rules mean Scottish landlords in the private rented sector must ensure electrical equipment is up to par and inspected every five years. Electrical Safety First outlines the implications

The private rented sector (PRS) in Scotland has more than doubled in size in the past decade. Yet in 2012 almost two-thirds of PRS homes failed to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and, from 2012 to 2013, more than 3,400 domestic fires (almost 70 per cent of all accidental fires) arose from an electrical fault. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, which received Royal Assent on 1 August 2014 as part of the Scottish government’s 10-year action plan for housing, will bring about significant changes for social landlords (both local authorities and iStock housing associations).  The act will come into effect on 1st December 2015.

Private landlords in Scotland will be required by law to ensure that a rented house meets the repairing standard at the start of and throughout a tenancy. One requirement of the repairing standard is that installations in the property for the supply of electricity, electrical fixtures and fittings, and any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy, are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.

Landlords are also required to ensure that regular electrical safety inspections are carried out by a competent person. Any element of the electrical installation that is classified as a real and immediate danger or potentially dangerous will have to be rectified to comply with the repairing standard. Any appliance that fails a portable appliance test (PAT) must be removed, replaced or repaired to comply with the repairing standard.

An inspection must be carried out before a tenancy starts, and at intervals of no more than five years. It is not necessary to carry out a new inspection every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the five years before the tenancy begins. An electrical safety certificate must be provided as a record of the inspection, and the landlord must keep a copy for six years. A copy of the certificate must be given to a person who is to become a tenant before a tenancy starts. While an electrical installation condition report (EICR) will meet the requirements for an electrical safety inspection certificate for installations, fixtures and fittings, and will record any remedial action required, any work that is undertaken must be recorded separately. This can be done, for example, by issuing a minor electrical installation works certificate to the landlord. The inspection must include a PAT test of the safety of any appliances provided by the landlord. A “pass” or “fail” label must be attached to each appliance. An equipment register and test record in the form recommended in the IET code of practice for in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment must be attached to the electrical safety certificate.

The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the person who carries out the electrical safety inspections is competent. This means they must be a member of a recognised professional body. NICEIC registration is recognised as an acceptable form of evidence of competence.

Interlink Lighting & Electrical is an approved NICEIC contractor so please contact us should you require an electrical safety inspection for your property.