Scottish landlords should be aware of their responsibilities regarding electrical safety inspections following recent changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.
Landlords failure to comply with the changes could lead to them endangering the lives of their tenants, as well as witnessing a fall in rental income. As part of the new legislative changes, private landlords are now responsible for ensuring that electrical safety inspections are carried out a minimum of every five years by registered electricians.
Originally enforced for new tenancies that began on or after 1 December 2015 and as of 1 December 2016, the rule now applies to all existing tenancies.
Should a landlord fail to carry out the necessary inspections, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can issue a Rent Relief Order. This will lead to a reduction in the rent paid on the tenancy by up to 90 per cent. which will reduce rent paid at the tenancy by up to 90 per cent.
The inspection comprises of two parts; a portable appliance test and an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), carried out by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a body that is recognized by the Scottish Government.
Lettings manager at Ross and Liddell, Ann McMaster, said: ‘Landlords who ignore the enforcement of these regulations are seriously endangering the lives of tenants. If an electrical safety inspection is not carried out, there’s no way of knowing how effective the appliances are and how well they function within a particular environment. Leaving any problems undiagnosed could lead to electrical fires, which are a very immediate danger for tenants. Choosing not to test can also mean that rent is cut by a huge margin – so it follows that from a financial and health and safety perspective, organising a test at a property is essential. The test is not expensive and can be carried out easily and effectively by a qualified electrician. It quickly and clearly establishes what work needs to be done and helps landlords with their long-term planning.’