Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, Part One, Chapter Three, states that ‘the electrical installation within a rented property is to be adequate and safe.’
One way to meet this is to follow the technical rules in BS 7671, Requirements for Electrical Installations (otherwise known as the Wiring Regulations), published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Whilst the Wiring Regulations are non-statutory, they are often used to demonstrate compliance with a statutory obligation. The Scottish Building Standards Division (SBSD) Technical Handbooks, for example, state that a new
installation conforming to the standard set in BS 7671 will satisfy the safety requirements for electrical installations in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
Failure to provide safely installed and maintained electrical appliances can lead to prosecution as it is a criminal offence. Possible penalties for failing to comply are as follows:
– Your property insurance may be invalidated
– A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
– Six months’ imprisonment
– The Tenant may sue you for civil damages
– Possible manslaughter charges in the event of death(s)
These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive. To avoid legal prosecution, it is advisable for landlords to have periodic checks completed by a qualified electrician.We recommend that an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is carried out.
An EICR is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the National Standard, BS 7671, for the safety of electrical installations.
– if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded
– any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical
– any defective DIY electrical work
– any lack of earthing or bonding
The Portable Appliance Test uses a machine to test the electrical plugs through a range of safety checks. It also includes a visual check on electrical appliances and their plugs and cables.