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Landlord's legal duty to use a qualified electrician for tenants' safety.

Quick-fix, cheap electrical repairs and installations have often been seen as a common and permanent feature of landlord property maintenance ( or non-maintenance!) and some of the more extreme horror stories do surface into the popular press from time to time! Of course, this may only really be applicable to a certain end of the property rental market, but nevertheless, it has to be said, it is both dangerous and illegal for a landlord to employ a general odd-job man to handle electrical work without the proper qualifications and approved training.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 commences their use and as a 'person responsible' he must ensure an adequate system of maintenance.There is an array of specialist equipment designed specifically to complete IEE test regimes for PAT testing (portable and fixed electrical equipment). A regular inspection programme is an essential part of any maintenance system.A statutory duty is imposed on landlords by two main Acts of Parliament relating to the safety of electrical equipment:(i) The Consumer Protection Act 1987The 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 goodsto 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:The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994The General Product Safety Regulations 1994The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994(ii) The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974The Health and Safety at Work Act places a duty of care upon both employer and employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises.Several recent regulations explicitly extended their requirements to cover 'self employed persons' and 'all persons affected by their operations'.In the Electricity at Work Regulations, a self-employed person is defined as follows:'A self-employed person is an individual who works for gain or reward otherwise than under a contract of employment whether or not he employs others.'This definition would appear to apply to landlords and agents. Tenants would also appear to be a group of persons affected by the landlord's operations. This tends to suggest that electrical regulations, which are mainly directed at employers and the work place, are equally applicable to landlords, their premises and their tenants.To summarise - a landlord has a legal requirement to ensure that all electrical equipment supplied by him is safe for use by the tenant. Secondly, only a legally and fully qualified electrician can undertake to carry out electrical work within a landlord's property.