Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016

Have you purchased or planned on purchasing new electrical equipment for your rental property since December 2016? As a Landlord that answer would most likely be ‘yes’.

Are you aware of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 regulation which was introduced in December of last year? No?

You will not be alone, this regulation has come into effect and been quietly missed by many Landlords and Letting professionals. If you are a Landlord or Letting Agent read on to this how this affects you.

This regulation applies to any electrical equipment first marketed on or after the 8th December 2016, to make matters simpler, think of this as applying to any electrical equipment purchased after his date.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this regulation only applies to shops who sell electrical equipment but as a Landlord and indeed as Letting Agents you are classed as a ‘distributor’ of electrical goods if you provide these in a rental property.

The term of ‘distributor’ means “any person in the supply chain, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who makes electrical equipment available on the market.”

Making available on the market means “any supply of electrical equipment for distribution, consumption or use on the EU market in the course of a commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge.”

So Landlord’s and Lettings Agents, if you haven’t done so already, you can add ‘distributor’ onto the long list of roles along with ‘immigration officer’ for those operating in England 😉

Landlords of unfurnished properties can breathe a sigh of relief but those who have provided furniture or items for their tenant are probably making a mental note of all the appliances this regulation this may apply to:

Cooker, fridge, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, TV, lamp, dehumidifier, the list could go on. Any equipment designed to be used with a voltage rating of 50-1000v for mains powered appliances and between 75 and 1500v for battery operated items are included in the regulation.

The responsibility is for the distributor to act with due care to ensure that the electrical equipment supplied (after the 8th of December 2016) is safe and certain information relating to the item is provided to the end user (tenant).

This will require a visual inspection of each appliance with each letting/tenant that moves in to check that all insulation is intact on the appliance and it’s cables so as to prevent arcing.

Microwave ovens will need to be carefully checked to ensure that the seal and interior are good condition to prevent any leakage. Ovens and kettles should be checked that they are safely retaining heat.

Appliances with plugs fitted will need to be checked to ensure the correct fuse is in place, you’ll need to cross reference this with the safety instructions provided with the appliances – tenants replacing the fuses within tenancy is common – so again, this will need to be checked for every change of tenant.

Noting these visual checks on the inventory as well as the condition of the appliance is a good way to record the checks.

The regulation does not specifically require that a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) is carried out, but doing so every 2.5 years is an excellent defence for the duty to act with due care.

If you feel that the electrical equipment is not in conformity with the principle elements of the safety objectives, the item must be removed from the premises and therefore no longer available on the market.

In addition to the visual checks and the cross-referencing of the fuses with the plugs, Landlords and agents must also ensure that the electrical equipment:

  • Bears the CE Marking
  • Is accompanied by instructions and safety information in English
  • Is labelled correctly by the manufacturer
  • Contains information identifying the importer.

Failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence and if found guilty, the person is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a term of up to 2 years, or both.

This is not to be taken lightly, I wonder what effect this will have on the industry once this is more widely known, will Landlords now be refusing to supply electrical appliances in their rental accommodation?

*Anything purchased before the 8th of December 2016 is still governed by the previous regulations from 1994.