Electrical safety inspections

How often do you need an electrical safety inspection? Is it mandatory for landlords? And can you do it yourself? Read on for the answers.

Are they a legal requirement?

If your property is an HMO, or you’re renting out a property in Scotland or England, you must have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) done every five years. The report should be done by a qualified electrician - like one of our British Gas electrical engineers.

Book an electrical report to keep you and your tenants safe.

Protect your tenants and your property

If your property is not legally obliged to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report it is a good idea for the safety of your tenants to carry out an inspection every five years. It will also protect you against enforcement action under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

Remember, you’re expected to provide a safe property throughout the length of any tenancy. So if you don’t at least check the wiring and fuse boxes in your property, you could be considered negligent. There’s also the risk of fire.

Can I inspect my property myself?

You can do some simple visual safety checks yourself. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Frayed or broken leads
  • Leads held together with tape
  • Exposed wires where the lead joins the plug
  • Damage to plugs
  • Signs of overheating such as burn marks, or brown or black stains
  • Cable trapped under furniture or doors
  • Leads that have got damp or wet

Anything you suspect is unsafe, get it checked by an electrician or replace it.

How often should I check my electrical appliances?

The Health & Safety Executive has created some guidelines to help you decide when to inspect your electrical appliances.

  • Battery-operated devices, and electric items below 50 volts – no inspection necessary
  • Desktop computers, large table lamps, fans (not handheld) – inspect every two to four years
  • Handheld, double-insulated kitchen equipment (Class 2) – inspect every six months to one year
  • Earthed electrical appliances such as kettles, irons and vacuum cleaners (Class 1) – inspect every six months to one year
  • Cables for electrical appliances, extension leads and phone chargers – inspect every six months to four years

Stay up to date

Some electrical appliances may require inspection and testing by a qualified electrician. The Health & Safety Executive website will keep you up to date with the current regulations.

It’s worth noting that many of the Health & Safety Executive guidelines are just recommendations. You should check any appliances you’re worried about more often and think about replacing them when you can.

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More help and advice

You can find more advice and guides for landlords on the Housing and local services pages of the government website . There are also a number of landlord associations offering information and courses to their members.

Want to know more?

Gas Safety certificates

An annual Gas Safety certificate is a legal requirement for landlords.

Get a Gas Safety Certificate

Fire safety

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Fire safety tips

Landlord insurance

How to choose the right buildings and contents insurance for your rental property.

Choosing landlord insurance