Friday, February 12, 2010

Living in rented accommodation, safely

•Do report any problems with the electrical installation or appliances to your landlord straight away.
•Do use appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
•Do use an RCD when using electrical equipment outdoors.
•Do regularly check the condition of plugs, cables and extension leads.
•Do check that any adaptor used complies with British Standards and is adequately rated for the connected load.
•Do remove plugs from sockets carefully. Pulling out a plug by the cable puts a strain on the terminations which can be dangerous.
•Don't carry out DIY repairs on electrical installations or appliances.
•Don't bring mains powered portable appliances into the bathroom.
•Don't ignore worn flexes on appliances.
•Don't use any electrical appliance with wet hands.
•Don't use adaptors plugged into other adaptors.
•Don't overload adaptors, particularly with high current appliances such as kettles, irons and heaters.
Tenant responsibilities
•Do not attempt to extend, repair or replace damaged or worn-out parts of the electrical installation yourself.
•Ensure all electrical appliances are used responsibly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
•Report any problems with the electrical installation or appliances to your landlord straight away.
•Allow access to the property should an electrician need to visit to carry out an inspection of the electrical installation/fix any reported problem.
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 assist you. Local authorities will ensure a landlord is meeting their legal obligations and can take enforcement action against them if they are found not to be.
Portable appliance testing (PAT)
•The safety of appliances you bring into your accommodation is your responsibility. If you are in any doubt as to the safety of an appliance get it tested or replaced.
Your landlord or college should have a system for inspecting and testing the portable equipment they provide.
What to look for in new accommodation
•An electrical report confirming that the electrical installation is 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).
•That sockets, switches and light fittings are in good condition with no signs of damage.
•That any appliances are provided with manufacturer’s instructions, have up to date PAT test stickers on them (not required if appliance is new and has not been used before) and are in good working order.
Landlord responsibilities
Your landlord is required by law to ensure:
•that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when a tenancy begins;
•that the electrical installation is maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy; and
•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).
In order to meet the above requirements your landlord will need to carry out regular basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances remain in good working order.

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