Landlord Assist, the national tenant eviction and rent collection firm, is urging landlords to carry out regular testing on electrical equipment and ensuring good quality smoke alarms are installed.

A recent Fire Kills Campaign Annual Report has also highlighted the need for landlords renting out their properties to include safety and fire alarms.

While there is not a legal obligation for landlords to ensure professional checks are carried out on all their electrical appliances, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations.

Failure to carry out regular safety checks on a let property could lead to the contents of your property being destroyed and an insurance claim being turned down. Worse still, should a tenant die in such circumstances, charges of manslaughter could be brought against you.

Every year nearly 8,000 accidental fires in the UK (one-fifth of all reported fires) are caused by faulty electrics, according to statistics from the Electrical Safety Council.

The majority of such fires could be prevented by fitting a Residual-Current Device (RCD) – yet the same figures suggest that 52 per cent of all private rented homes fail to have adequate RCD protection at the consumer unit.

It is important that landlords carry out regular checks on electrical equipment as rented properties tend to receive more wear and tear from tenants than owner-occupied properties.

Indeed, the number of electrical appliances in rented accommodation has also risen over the last few years in the form and TVs, DVD players, stereos, cookers and games consoles as landlords try to target young professionals with modern furnishings.

Graham Kinnear, managing director at Landlord Assist, said: ‘It is imperative that landlords take some basic steps in order to try and ensure the safety of their tenants.

‘Electrical installations should be regularly inspected but tenants should also be advised to take basic steps which will ensure their safety. For example, they should be advised not to overload sockets, never to attempt any repairs or alterations and ensure that the leads and flexes on their appliances are not damaged or frayed.

Stephen Parry, commercial director at Landlord Assist, said: Although there isn't a legal obligation on landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical appliances, there is, however, an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations.

‘Without carrying out regular tests, a landlord could be found to have failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their tenants, and leave themselves liable to prosecution and invalidation of their property insurance.

Landlords must understand their legal obligations when it comes to electrical safety in their rental properties. Failure to take check the condition of electrical appliances can put tenants in serious danger and result in prosecution.

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