Landlords should be switched on to dangers of ignoring electrical testing regulations
Property management firm Ross and Liddell has urged private landlords to be aware of their responsibilities on electrical safety inspection.
Experts at the Glasgow company warned failure to comply with changes in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 could not only result in a dramatic drop in their income, but could also seriously endanger the lives of tenants.
The legislation states that private landlords are now responsible for ensuring that electrical safety inspections are carried out by registered electricians at all existing tenancies, at least once every five years.
The ruling was originally enforced for new tenancies that began on or after 1 December 2015 and as of 1 December 2016, now applies to all existing tenancies.
If a landlord fails to comply and inspections are not carried out, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) - the body which has now replaced the Private Rented Housing Panel - can issue a Rent Relief Order which will reduce rent paid at the tenancy by up to 90 per cent.
And if no safety checks are booked in, electrical issues will go undetected, meaning that the lives of tenants are put at risk.
Ann McMaster, lettings manager at Ross and Liddell, said: “Landlords who ignore the enforcement of these regulations are seriously endangering the lives of tenants.
“If an electrical safety inspection is not carried out, there’s no way of knowing how effective the appliances are and how well they function within a particular environment.
“Leaving any problems undiagnosed could lead to electrical fires, which are a very immediate danger for tenants.
“Choosing not to test can also mean that rent is cut by a huge margin – so it follows that from a financial and health and safety perspective, organising a test at a property is essential.
“The test is not expensive and can be carried out easily and effectively by a qualified electrician. It quickly and clearly establishes what work needs to be done and helps landlords with their long-term planning.”
An electrical safety inspection has two parts – a portable appliance test and an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
The person who conducts the check must be employed by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a body recognised by the Scottish Government – this will usually mean that they are registered with NICEIC or a member form of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT).
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 amends the Repairing Standard (from the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, Section 13(4A) and 19B(4)) to make it a legal requirement for landlords to carry out electrical safety inspections in private rented property in Scotland from 1 December 2015.