Guidance for Social Landlords in Scotland
Social landlords in Scotland must arrange for electrical safety inspections to be carried out every five years. This includes an inspection of the electrical installation and portable appliance testing (PAT) of any appliances which have been provided as part of the tenancy. Further details about these requirements can be found in the guidance for the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.
Electrical Safety First also recommends that landlords should try and follow these measures as good practice:
Fitting one or more RCDs (Residual Current Devices) into the consumer unit can protect a tenant against electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fires. The RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. It offers a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.
Before providing portable appliances to tenants, a landlord should check that each appliance has at least the CE Mark, which is the product manufacturer's claim that it meets all the requirements of European Union legislation. Appliances with additional safety marks, such as the British Standard Kitemark or the BEAB Approved Mark, tend to provide greater assurance of electrical safety. The landlord must verify that any second-hand equipment provided is safe. This will require relevant inspection and testing to be carried out.
Care should also be taken to avoid counterfeit electrical products. Counterfeit electrical goods almost always contain incorrect or faulty parts that can overheat or break just days after purchase, increasing the risk of fire or electric shock. If electrical products are purchased online follow our advice.
Where electrical appliances are provided, tenants should always be told to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Copies of the instructions should be left in the property so the tenants can refer to them as and when required.
If a tenancy lasts more than a year, it is good practice to carry out annual visual inspections to detect any damage, deterioration, wear and tear, signs of overheating, loose fixings, or missing parts that may lead to danger. Landlords’ visual inspections should include checks on:
- Fuse boxes (consumer units) for signs of damage
- Light switches and electrical sockets for any signs of damage or overloading
- Cables to make sure that they are safe and are not damaged
- Electrical appliances for signs of damage and deterioration and to confirm that plugs and cables are secure.
Electrical Safety First provides a Landlord’s Interim Checklist which can be used to record a visual inspection. This is available free online here
Additionally, landlords should test that the following devices operate when their integral test button is pressed at time intervals as specified by the manufacturer of the equipment:
- Residual Current Devices (quarterly check)
- Smoke or heat detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
Landlords and tenants should also regularly check that any electrical appliances in the house are not subject to any current product recall notices or safety alerts. A significant number of recalls for electrical appliances occur because the items are at risk of catching fire or causing electrocution. It is good practice to register products at the address of the landlord or the letting agent to ensure that recall paperwork is actioned. Alternatively, landlords can check a free list of products that have recently been recalled by manufacturers which is provided by Electrical Safety First and is available free online here.
Landlords can register appliances directly with the manufacturer to ensure that they receive notice of any recalls. You can find out more here.