Electrical safety laws for private rental properties in Scotland.
From 1st December 2015, private landlords are responsible for ensuring that an electrical safety inspection of their property is carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years.
The new legislation explained
As of 1st December 2015, under sections 13(4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, private landlords in Scotland will be required by law to ensure that their properties are electrically safe.
Any installations in the property for the supply of electricity
Electrical fixtures and fittings
Any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy.
Landlords must be able to prove that all of the above are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
So what do landlords need to do?
Landlords are required to ensure that regular electrical safety inspections are carried out by a competent person, and that anything that fails to pass the inspection is replaced or repaired immediately.
As a minimum, an electrical safety inspection must be carried out:
Before a tenancy starts, and
During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than five years from the date of the previous inspection.
A copy of the most recent electrical safety inspection reports must be provided to both new and retained tenants.
The person who conducts the checks 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 firm of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT)
the Scottish government guidelines details the transitional rules for the scheme.
It requires any new tenant to receive an EICR if they take up their tenancy after the 1st December 2015.
Any existing tenant to receive a copy of an EICR before the 1st December 2016 (unless their tenancy will end before that date).
If an EICR (or new installation certificate) is available for the property that was produced since 1st January 2012, this is still in its perceived 5 year lifecycle this is still valid (for 5 years from issue). These do not need any PAT report.
Any EICR produced after 1st December 2015 will also need Appliance test reports.
What happens during the electrical safety inspection?
An electrical safety inspection has two parts:
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) – formerly known as a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) – on the safety of the electrical installations, fixtures and fittings.
A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) on any portable appliances that you have provided by the landlord.
For the Electrical Installation Condition Report, the registered electrician will carry out checks of installations for the supply of electricity, electrical fittings (including but not limited to switches, sockets and light fittings) and fixed electrical equipment (including but not limited to boilers, panel and storage heaters and hard-wired smoke and fire detectors).
As a result, the electrician will produce an EICR document that highlights any problems using different classifications: code C1 indicating ‘danger present’, code C2 indicating ‘potentially dangerous’ and code FI indicating ‘further investigation required’. Any remedial work that is undertaken as a result of the inspection will then be recorded on a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate.
You may have a copy of an Electrical Installation Certificate rather than an EICR if:
Your property is a new build
The property has been fully rewired.
If you have an Electrical Installation Certificate, you can provide this to demonstrate that your property complies with the new guidance, provided that the date of the next inspection indicated on the certificate has not elapsed.
For more information on Electrical Installation Condition Reports, see our Condition Reports explainedpage.
The PAT test covers any movable electrical equipment that the landlord has provided as part of the tenancy (refrigerators, toasters, TVs, etc.) and must be carried out by either a registered electrician or any person who has completed appropriate training as a PAT Tester (which can include the landlord)
Anything that fails to pass the electrical safety inspection or PAT test must be replaced or repaired immediately.
Smoke Alarms in Private Lets Guidance for Scotland
From 1st December 2015 Scottish Private Landlords will have to install working Carbon Monoxide alarms in every room or inter-connected space where there is a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking).
The Scottish Government has produced revised statutory guidance on the requirements for smoke alarms. Below we have detailed the main points relating to smoke detectors from the revised Domestic Technical Handbook.
1) One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes. (Eg livingroom)
2) One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings.
3) One heat alarm in every kitchen.
4) All alarms should be interlinked.
5) The number and position of alarms will depend on the size and layout of the house, but there should be at least one alarm on each floor.
6) The landlord should either install smoke and fire alarms that meet the standard set by building regulations or be able to justify why a lesser level of protection is appropriate in a particular property.
7) Some properties may be required to meet more stringent standards, in which case further alarms may be needed.
8) An alarm should be installed in accordance with the recommendations contained in BS5839 Part 6 and the landlord should ensure the alarms are regularly maintained in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations. The fitting of a hard-wired (mains powered) smoke alarm may require a building warrant and the relevant local authorities should be consulted.
To enquire about bringing your property up to regulation for letting, contact us now for a FREE inspection and quotation.