There is no statutory obligation on landlords or agents to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations:
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe. The Housing Health and safety Rating System under the Housing Act 2004 also cover electrical hazards.
In the case of commercial property and houses in multiple occupations there is a statutory duty under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 for the responsible person (the property manager) to carry out annual Fire Safety Risk Assessments, which include electrical safety risks.
If you let property you must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe - failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in:
•A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
•Six month's imprisonment
•Possible manslaughter charges in the even of deaths
•The Tenant may also sue you for civil damages
•Your property insurance may be invalidated
The Health & Safety Executive enforces these regulations. Read the article "Electrical Checks - Why bother? by Grant Roy MSc MIEE, chartered electrical engineer.
It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate.
But, should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable. You are advised to make visual inspections yourself as landlord or agent in residential properties (record on a safety checklist) and have periodic checks carried out by a qualified electrician.
•Ideally, ensure that the electrical system complies with the latest wiring regulations.
•Make sure a circuit breaker (RCD) is fitted to power circuits.
•Keep supplied appliances to a minimum.
•Make sure appliances supplied are complete and in working order - keep purchase receipts.
•Pay particular attention to second hand equipment - always have these items checked.
•Ensure that operating instructions and safety warning notices are supplied with the appliances.
•Ensure that flexes are in good order and properly attached to appliances and plugs.
•Ensure that earth tags are in place.
•Ensure that plugs are of an approved type with sleeved live and neutral pins.
•Ensure that plugs and sockets conform to BS1363 or BS1363/A for heavy duty uses.
•Ensure that all fuses are of the correct type and rating.
•Make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch.
•Make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory.
If you are in any doubt about the wiring or the safety of any appliances consult a qualified electrician.