Here’s a rare thing . . . a post from your other blog editor, Liz Mooney from our Housing Quality Team who has been out and about on some inspections.
We’ve been carrying out some joint inspections with the Police and the utility companies to check electrical and gas safety in residential properties linked to commercial properties. Typically, but not exclusively that’s flats above shops.
One issue that cropped up is that some of the homes inspected, did not have a separate power supply from the commercial premises. This does not fit with required standards. Any home should have its own separately controllable power supply.
And there are some other serious issues involved too; including, a lack of proper inspections (such as the compulsory annual gas safety check) illegal resale of power from the landlord to the tenant, unsafe adaptions to equipment and the theft of power.
We know that any landlord reading this blog is highly unlikely to be involved in anything dubious and more generally most landlords in our borough are good landlords who are keen to do things properly, but the safety implications of not getting everything right with your power supply are massive. So we always want to remind landlords how seriously we take gas and electrical safety. We will do everything we can to make sure that standards, regulations and the law are kept to.
If you stick to the basics, you can’t go wrong. Make sure you keep up to date on your annual gas safety checks (which are a legal requirement) and we recommend you get a full electrical safety check by a qualified professional on your properties at least every five years. You should also carry out your own visual safety check at the end of every tenancy. You can also find useful advice about general safety standards here on gov.uk. (And do also bear in mind that there can be different rules about power supply for Houses of Multiple occupation).
It shouldn’t need saying – but we’ll say it anyway. If you have any doubt whatsoever about the safety of the power supply to your property – don’t hesitate, get a professional to check it out straight away.
And for that tiny minority of landlords involved in dodgy practices – we’re on the look out for you. If you are doing something wrong, the consequences and penalties can be severe.
And one last thought – remember that since April this year, you cannot create a new tenancy ti let out a property that has an energy performance rating below ‘E.’