Monday, 7 March 2011

Renting a property

What should you do as a tenant. Renting a property? Follow these simple do’s and don’ts

Report any problems to your landlord straight away.

Use appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use an RCD when using electrical equipment outdoors.

Regularly check the condition of plugs, cables and extension leads.

Check that any adaptor you use is safe. It should comply with British Standards and be adequately rated for the connected load.

Remove plugs from sockets carefully. Pulling out a plug by the cable puts a strain on the wiring and can be dangerous.

Allow access to the property should an electrician need to visit.


Carry out your own electrical repairs.
Take mains-powered portable appliances such as radios, heaters or hairdryers into the bathroom.
Ignore worn flexible cables on appliances.
Use any electrical appliance with wet hands.
Use adaptors plugged into other adaptors.
Overload adaptors, particularly when plugging in kettles, irons or heaters.
If you don’t know who’s used it, check it first. Badly treated electrical equipment can be dangerous. Look out for the danger signs:
  • Frayed, cut or damaged leads.
  • Cracked or damaged cases on plugs or appliances.
  • Burn marks on plugs, leads or appliances.
  • Blowing fuses.
  • Loose cord grips in plugs or appliances.
If you notice any of these danger signs, stop using the appliance and report the problem to your landlord immediately.

If you have reported a problem to your landlord and they have refused to put the situation right or ignored your request, you should contact your local authority who will be able to help you. Local authorities will ensure a landlord is meeting their legal obligations and can take enforcement action against them.


 What to look for in new accommodation (4 points)

  • An electrical report confirming that the electrics are safe for use (known as a Periodic Inspection Report).
  • Certification confirming that any recent electrical work meets the UK national standard BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations).
  • Sockets, switches and light fittings are in good condition with no signs of damage.
  • Any appliances are provided with the manufacturer’s instructions, have up to date PAT test stickers on them (not required on new appliances) and are in good working order.

What are your Landlord’s responsibilities?

They are required by law to ensure -

  • That the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when you move in.
  • That the electrical installation is maintained in a safe condition as long as you’re staying there.
  • That any appliance provided is safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law).
  • To meet these requirements your landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.

Portable appliance testing (PAT)

The safety of appliances you bring into your accommodation is your responsibility. If you are in any doubt about the safety of an appliance, get it tested or replaced.

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