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Electrical safety checks.


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It's amazing how little happens for ages then snags all come along in a rush!

Anyway, another apartment of mine, unfurnished, part of a managed complex, vacated last weekend and the agents found new tenants in a jiffy who need to move in the weekend.

I've not even had the inventory check/condition report back yet, but that's NTDWI

Anyhow, they sprang some stuff on me via email (legionella, smoke alarm) and the issue in question - electrical safety checks.

Highlighted asterisked first point and the words ''statutory obligation''

Now, I had already organised an electrician to do this task but It's not looking likely that I can get him to do it before the weekend. The agents are insisting that there is no legal requirement to have these checks done, but I'm sticking a spanner in the works here and am refusing to let new tenants in until this task has been accomplished. How can I certify that the installation is safe? I don't have the test equipment needed to determine (for instance) that the ring main circuits are indeed still ring main, nor do I have the training required.

A statutory obligation is one created under law (google) and despite what the agents on the phone say I can't but help feel if someone got electrocuted the agent's solicitors would wave this in front of the judge, Rumpole would correctly determine that I was not qualified and I would be in deep poo.

I asked if the agents manager would send me an email to state that it wasn't 'law,' but surprise surprise she wouldn't.

I'm playing them at their own game here, am I being sensible or churlish?



Form of Indemnity – Electrical Safety Regulations


Property Address: XXX

Landlord: Me

It is hereby declared that the Landlord authorises Countrywide Residential Lettings (the Agent) to proceed with the proposed tenancy of the above property on the following conditions:-

*I/We confirm that we have been advised that it is a statutory obligation on a Landlord to ensure that all appliances left as part of a let property are ‘safe’.

 I/We acknowledge, and fully understand, that Landlords can find themselves prosecuted for gross negligent manslaughter in cases where they have failed to have the electrical safety supply to the property properly checked and maintained, and where a tenant was subsequently killed as a result of undetected defects in the electrical system.

 Despite recommendations from Countrywide Residential Lettings advising us of the potential implications of failing to have the electrical supply to the above property properly checked and maintained, I do not authorise Countrywide Residential Lettings to arrange annual Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), or Fixed Wiring Tests (FWT), on the above property whilst they are instructed as my Agent in the letting of the above property.

 I shall agree to indemnify the Agent from and against all losses, claims, costs and demands suffered or incurred by the Agent arising out of or in connection with my decision to not authorise Countrywide Residential Lettings to carry out Portable Appliance Testing, or Fixed Wiring Testing/Inspections at the above property.

 The Agent will permit the Landlord to nominate Legal Representatives to conduct claims covered by this indemnity on its behalf and provide all reasonable assistance in the conduct of such claims, the reasonable expenses of the Agent to be met by the Landlord. I hereby agree to be bound by this Form of Indemnity to Countrywide Residential Lettings.


Signed: ……………………………………………

Name: ……………………………………………

Dated: ……………………………………………

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Well you need to do whatever it takes to ensure you can sleep at night.

In reality it's not yet a legal requirement and most landlords of reasonable intelligence can do plenty of simple checks themselves. Here is what I do between tenancies.....

* Use a plug in socket tester on all 13 amp sockets......very cheap to buy....less than £10

* Carry out a visual check of all sockets, switches, controls and bulb holders looking for cracks, damage and anything that's not right.

* If the consumer unit has trips operate the test button on all available circuits to check ok operation.

* Check anything with a 3pin plug has the correct fuse rating and wiring and clamps are all secure.

* Operate all electrical equipment making sure it works with no obvious defects.

* Keep a log book showing what checks have been done by whom and the date.

I suspect thats considerably more than 95% of landlords who will do.nothing until legislation forces them to do it.

Sleep tight.


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Thanks RL, good reading, on reflection I can do these checks as you state and then have the sparky come in next week if pos and formalise things.

I'm pretty good with electrics, I've 'A' level physics from decades ago and have just wired up my new 90' by 30' portal frame building on the farm with metal clad consumer unit fed from SWA cable and the wiring is in galv trunking and plastic conduit - just like industrial installations, so I'm competent and in this instance the only person that I could kill is myself. [1]  But I have no formal qualifications and the apartment has other folk in and Rumpole would make me look a fool in a jiffy so I feel I'll have to get some 'electrical engineer' in to do it.

Regards Julian.

[1] pretty much impossible with the 30mA RCD trips built into consumer units these days anyway.

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As electrical certification is not a totally legal requirement yet    ( I think it should be by the way) I too carry out my own electrical checks with a mains tester and visual on sockets switches etc etc. My qualification to do so goes back a few years in a previous life but at least somebody is checking the electrics rather than nobody..

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