Why do Landlords Need an Electrical Safety Certificate?

There are two main Acts of Parliament that impose a statutory duty on landlords

with respect to the safety of electrical equipment:

1. The Consumer Protection Act 1987

2. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

The Consumer Protection Act affects all persons who let property in the course of

their business because it defines them as “suppliers”, i.e. they are supplying goods

to the tenant. There are several items of secondary legislation under the umbrella of

the Consumer protection Act which are directly relevant to the supply of electrical

goods, including:

1. The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989

2. The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

3. The General Product Safety Regulations 1994

4. The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994

In essence, these regulations impose a duty on landlords to ensure that all

electrical equipment supplied by them is safe for use by the tenant. The Consumer

Protection Act provides a defence of ‘due diligence’, i.e. a landlord can defend a

contravention of the Act if he can demonstrate that he took reasonable steps to

avoid committing the offence.

In summary, a landlord has duties both as a ‘supplier of goods’ and as the ‘person

responsible’ for an electrical installation. As a ‘supplier of goods’ he must ensure

that goods are checked before the tenant takes them over and as a ‘person

responsible’ he must ensure an adequate system of maintenance