How to rent

Download a copy of 'How to rent' from GOV.UK for a checklist and information on:

  • what to look out for before renting
  • living in a rented home
  • what happens at the end of a tenancy
  • what to do if things go wrong

Electrical Safety

New electrical safety regulations came into force on 1 June 2020

For tenants, these regulations mean that:

  • The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box, including permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors in rented homes must be inspected and tested every 5 years, or more often than this if the inspector thinks that is necessary
  • The regulations do not cover electrical appliances such as kettles, toasters, hairdryers etc
  • Throughout the whole time a tenant is living at the property, national electrical safety standards must be met
  • Your landlord must give you a report that shows the condition of the property’s electrical installations
  • If you sign a new tenancy agreement on or after 1 July 2020 the regulations will apply to your rented home straight away
  • If you signed your tenancy agreement before 1 July 2020 the regulations will apply for you from 1 April 2021

These Regulations do not cover social housing. Tenants of housing associations should contact their housing provider if they are worried about the electrics in the property. These Regulations also do not cover tenants who live with their landlord (lodgers).

What will be inspected and tested?

The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket-outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box) will be inspected. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors.

What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.

We recommend that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide and then supply tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried out as good practice.

Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.

See guidance on portable appliance testing (PAT).

Tenants and landlords may consider registering their own electrical appliances with a product registration scheme. 

Redress if things go wrong

Your first step is always to make a complaint direct to your letting agent or property manager. The letting agent should resolve your dispute within eight weeks. If they do not, you can complain to your letting agent's redress scheme.

From 1 October 2014, all letting agents are required to be a member of one of three government-approved letting agency redress schemes. Letting agent redress schemes provide a free, independent service for resolving disputes between letting agents and their customers.

The decision made by a letting agency redress scheme is binding on all parties.

The letting agency has to comply with any orders to put something right, pay you compensation, or pay a fine.

Useful information

  • 'How to rent a safe home' provides information on what to look out for in the property you are renting to ensure that it is safe to live in. It also explains your landlord’s obligations and what you can do if the landlord does not comply
  • Condensation, damp and mould
  • Electrical Safety First - provides information for tenants about electrical safety and staying safe in a rented home