Responsibility for electrical safety

Landlords, tenants and owner-occupiers all have legal responsibilities when it comes to electrical safety. These are explained below.

Whether you own or rent your home, there are some steps which you should always take to keep your home safe.

What are my responsibilities if I own my home?

If you own your home, it is recommended that you:

  • arrange for an electrical inspection to be carried out every ten years
  • watch out for danger signs and make sure all electrical equipment in your home is maintained and used properly
  • ensure all repair and installation work is carried out properly.

Always use an electrician who is listed on the Registered Competent Persons website. This means that they are registered with a Government-approved scheme and can issue a certificate to prove that the work has been done properly and is safe.

What responsibilities do I have if I rent my home?

If you rent your home, you should:

  • watch out for danger signs and make sure all electrical equipment in your home is maintained and used properly
  • don’t use equipment or appliances that you think may be unsafe. If your landlord supplied the faulty equipment, report the disrepair to them
  • allow your landlord and/or an electrical contractor access to your home to carry out inspections and repairs. Your landlord should give you 24 hours notice before coming round (unless it is an emergency).

You are also responsible for the condition and safety of any electrical appliances that you bought to the property yourself.

If you are in any doubt about the safety of an appliance, get it tested or replaced.

What responsibilities do landlords have?

Your landlord is required by law to ensure:

  • that the electrical installation in the property is safe when your tenancy begins
  • that the electrical installation is maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy
  • ensure 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)
  • if you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), have the electrics checked every five years.

To meet these requirements a landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.

In addition, Rent Smart Wales and Electrical Safety First recommend that a periodic inspection and test is carried out on all rented properties by a registered electrician at least every five years, and before any new tenant moves in.

If your landlord has done this, a copy of the inspection report (known as a periodic inspection report) should be made available to you and if the appliances have been checked then each electrical appliance in the property should have a PAT (portable appliance test) sticker on the plug showing the date it was tested.

Where can I find out more?

Electrical Safety First is a charity committed to reducing deaths and injuries through electrical accidents at home and work. Their website has lots of information on electrical safety as well as guidance on how to find and hire a registered electrician.

In Wales, all landlords and agents of domestic tenancies (including assured shorthold tenancies) must be registered and/or licensed with Rent Smart Wales. To keep and obtain a licence, a landlord must keep to certain rules and recommendations – including electrical safety. If you are concerned about the electrics in your home and you have reported them to your landlord but nothing has been done, then you can:

  • report the matter to Rent Smart Wales who will investigate
  • contact your local council’s environmental health department who can can ensure your landlord is meeting their legal obligations and take enforcement action against them if they are found not to be (see our page on ‘Is the place fit to live in?‘ for more information)
  • get further advice from Shelter Cymru.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

Page last updated: Dec 3, 2020 @ 4:54 pm

Did you find this helpful?

This page was last updated on: December 3, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.