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Hi All -

 

I posted previously on this forum for advice on my disrepair issue and got some valuable advice from some of the members...so I tought somebody here could help me with some issues related to electrical safety

 

A bit of recap of the problem:

 

4 months ago, I had a leak from the flat above me and emailed the landlord to get the electricals checked because all appliances in the kitchen stopped working. The landlord did not do much and after a few days, coming back from work, I barely averted a fire in the house. I had to run and disconnecting electricity as water had penetrated several plugs and there were smoke and sparkles in the kitchen.

 

Even after the electrical accident all the landlord 's electrician did was just remove the plugs and join the electrical cables with tape :mad: . I strongly complained with the landlord that I was not happy with live electrical cables joined together with tape in a place where there had just been a major leak and there was humidity everywhere. To compound the problem the cables were just behind the gas hob:eek: !

 

The landlord ignored all my protests and left the electricals in this state for more than 3 months. He fixed it, in a superficial way, only when he got the money from his insurance claim. He treated me with contempt and ignored basic electrical safety rules: his only worry was getting the money from the insurance - hey, after all it's not him living in this conditions, it's just an useless tenant:roll: !

 

I feel he should not get away with that but the electrical safety rules, unlike the gas ones, are not mandatory and rather confusing for me. So I would appreciate some advice on this issue: can i take him to court for this? Can I ask fro compensation? (after all, all this guy cares about is his wallet so I may as well hit him on that!:( )

 

Thanks!

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As far as i am aware, there are no LEGAL conditions that state that electrics have to be checked every year (as the gas regs) but, that is not to say that they can be left unsafe, as this clearly would prove dangerous to your health. A call to environmental health might be a good idea?

 

Hth

 

Matt

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely - Lord Acton.

 

Advice offered by MattyH is without predjudice and is for your judgement as to whether to take it. You should seek the assistance or hire of a solicitor or other paid professional if in doubt. Please research any information I have offered, as I will not be held liable for any incorrect advice i've given you.

 

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Hi Matt,

 

thank you for your reply. I called the environmental health but no joy, they were very inefficient. It took more than 1 month and several calls to get them to inspect the property . When they came all they said was " the property is in a very bad state but there is no much we can do. we don't deal with electricals :rolleyes: ". I wonder what do they deal with....

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You cant ask for compensation as you had no physical damage or injury, or any financial loss I'm afraid. Current laws do not allow suing for the POTENTIAL of injury if you understand me. Not fair I know, but the way the law is.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Hi ITMC,

 

The local authority do have powers if they feel there is a serious problem. If you feel it is still unsafe, maybe worth considering writing to them explaining your concerns and asking them to check again.

 

A local authority can take a number of courses of action under the Housing Act 1985 to deal with a property which is unfit for human habitation. This term sounds a bit strong but one of the criteria that is considered by the local authority regarding this is :- free from serious disrepair, such as dangerous wiring, damaged stairs, floors or windows. So they do 'deal with electricals' and don't let them tell you otherwise. They can serve the landlord with a repair notice, to ensure the work is carried out.

 

What sort of tenancy have you got? when did you take it out? its worth considering the result of taking action against your landlord regarding your tenancy. There is always a risk that the landlord may evict and although unfair, this outcome has to be considered. Action can also prove very time consuming and expensive. Don't mean to sound negative as I fully understand your worries and concerns, I would feel exacty the same, its just important to consider all possible outcomes before considering taking action independently (court action for example).

 

Shelter run a free housing advice telephone service on 0808 800 4444

You can also email them on [email protected] They should be able to advise you further and refer you for specialist help or advice if you need it.

 

Hope this helps.

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Certainly speak to your local authority and explain the situation and concerns about the electrics.

 

The options open to the council. One would be to risk assess the hazard using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and issue a notice if required. If its a converted building and a HMO they could use the management regulations and again issue notice.

 

The only mandatory requirement for an electrical certificate is for a HMO (house in multiple occupation) other than a converted block of flats, i.e all self contained units in a building.

 

Hope that helps :)

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Actually an HMO does not have to consist of self contained units...any property with 2 or more people living in it who are not part of the same "family" is an HMO.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Billyhunt,

 

thank you for your reply.

 

My tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. I don't mind being evicted. I do intend to leave the house after this issue with my little nice landlord, so if he tries to evict me it's just saving me from some paperwork:) .

 

As for the court, I intend to sue him anyway as during the disrepairs, lasted 4 months, I could not use the kitchen due to the dangerous wiring, lack of plugs in the kitchen (all but one burnt-out) humidity and smell. I am paying £1050 pm for a tiny 1-bed flat in London and asking me to pay the full amount for a flat with no kitchen, smelly and humid it's really a joke! :evil: .

 

Also, this electrical problem has ruined my time in the house...not feeling safe when you go to sleep it's not very enjoyable :( : I feel he should not get away with it. Even if I don't get compensation I was thinking that the inclusion of the electrical problem in the court case could scare my beloved gimme-the-money landlord and push him to settle before court. Can fear overcome avarice:roll: ?

 

I am surprised that the law is so weak when it comes to electrical safety. A fire near the gas hob could have harmed not only us and our flat, but the whole neighborough, and this just because this guy did not want to spend few quids before getting the monies from the insurance. Are there not penalties/fines provided for clear breach of electrical/gas safety:? ?

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Mr Shed,

 

I am living with my girlfriend which is not strictly part of the family (writing quickly while she's in the kitchen :D ). Does this qualify for a HMO? I called an independent electrician already and I have his report that the property does not comply with electrical standards - this was the reason why the circuit breaker did not trip when water leaked the plugs. Can that help?

 

Thanks!

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2 or more people living in it who are not part of the same "family" is an HMO.

 

Its 3 or more Mr Shed, any property that has 2 persons in two seperate households is not a HMO. Schedule 14(7) HA 2004.

 

Actually an HMO does not have to consist of self contained units

 

Thats why I made reference to this The only mandatory requirement for an electrical certificate is for a HMO (house in multiple occupation) other than a converted block of flats, i.e all self contained units in a building.

ITMC it depends on the building you are living in, not necessarily on your flat alone. If its all self contained flats in the building and has building regulations approval post 1991, its not a HMO. If its a purpose built block of flats its not a HMO. If its all self contained flats without building control approval it could be a HMO.

 

As Mr Shed says a HMO doesn't have to be all self contained flats, could be a shared house, bedsits, a flat in multiple occupation, a mixture of self contained flats and bedsits, etc.

 

The new definitions of HMOs are now very extensive compared to the old Housing Act. But back to your original question you should contact your council and explain the situation. Your landlord has a duty of care to you as a tenant, how he goes about this duty is open to interpretation.

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Hi IMTC,

 

If you plan to leave the property anyway then the threat of eviction is not a problem for you so I agree, no need to worry, just thought it important to mention.

 

If you intend to sue anyway, then including the issue of unsafe wiring can only add weight to your evidence. It would be advisable to get legal advice though, contact shelter or pop into the citiziens advice bureau before commencing with any action

 

Good luck.

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Hi

 

I have also problem with my electricity. Last week for whatever reason the kettle fused and did not blow the fuse specifically for the kitchen, but blew the main switch!! As i was working from home that day and had important stuff on my pc, it meant redoing work as the computer switched on and off.

 

But as stated, the landlord does not need to have a electric certificate, so nothing we can about apart from mentioning it and hoping nothing serious happens.

 

I think its very wrong that there is no certificate as i think more accidents happen due to wrong electricity than to gas. Hopefully some day it will change, but to be honest i dont have high hopes for that.

 

As for your case, make sure you take enough pictures for evidence before you leave the property. Of course a video clip would even be better, showing where the problems are.

 

Good luck with your case

LMS

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Actually it depends upon the definition of HMO you look at - in the strictest sense, an HMO is any property with people from 2 familys or more...

 

But that said, must admit that HMOs arent my strong point at all!!

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Thanks Billyhunt,

 

contacting shelter is a good idea. Will do as laws on electrical safety are quite confusing on the internet. From what jessop said my flat does not qualify as HMO so an electrical certificate is not required by law :( .

 

However I found several resources on the internet that state that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and Consumer Protection Act 1987 all apply to the electrical safety problem. They all say that the the landlord "has the statutory duty to respect the safety of electrical equipment". I include some references I found with a quick google search as they may be helpful for somebody with a similar problem:

 

 

Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities

 

Landlord Tenant Law::Letting Agent::Tenancy Agreement

 

Electrical Safety for Landlords

 

some of the reference state that the Landlord can occur penalties of up to 3 months imprisonment and/or £5000 fine if there is risk of fire for lack of electrical safety. Which I think will do fine for my beloved-and-caring Landlord saving at the expenses of my safety ;) .

 

Now all these websites are kind of interpretation of the law and I guess it will be up to the judge in the court to assess the evidence. The question is what It would be fair to ask and how to state my claims in the N1 form for the court. Should I ask for abatement of the rent for the disrepair and add the electrical problems to add to the evidence/push the beloved LLord to settle? Any idea on how much it would be fair to ask for rent reduction when a 1 bed flat has no usable kitchen and has humidity and electrical problems?

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Hi, ITMC

 

To be honest the information you require regarding legal action/claim amounts is beyond my knowledge. I can help point you in the right direction, i.e shelter for more specialist advice but regarding legal action I am unqualified to comment. I am sure others with more experience can help you with this.

 

Mr shed did mention in a previous post the legal position regarding compensation without physical damage or injury, or any financial loss, so I would suggest further advice before starting any legal action.

 

Also, have you provided a deposit and if so were you able to use a rent deposit scheme. I know this has only become compulsory since April 2007 but was available before on a voluntary basis if required. If not, then just be aware that some landlords withhold deposits because of damage to the property etc :wink: and this could be a possible way of clawing back money paid out as compensation! Unfair but possible.

 

Good luck

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hi All

Having read the threads above i would like to add under the new legalisation a landlord is required to have a periodic inspection and test done on the property,these are advised after change of tenancy but only legally binding every 5 years.If the landlord cannot produce a certificate of this nature over the last 5 years it can be enforced under the health and safety Act. I work as an electrician and in process of supplying these services locally.As for the tape joint you are quite within your rights to report this to authorising organisations eg,ECA,NICEC. Cowboys like this should be struck off before killing someone..

cheers kinzy

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What legislation is this????

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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To achieve compliance with the legal requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires proof that an electrical system is safe, which involves amongst other things, proper inspection and testing of a system by competent people and the creation and maintenance of records.

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is law in the United Kingdom.

Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR)

 

 

 

This has now came into more effect since joining the european Union under BS7671 it is the responsibility not only of the landlord but to an extent the electrician to report an unsafe Installation.What i read in the first post the electrician never done his job.In England you might of heard of Part P of the regulations(coming to scotland and wales soon)which now states any alteration within a circuit should be accompanied by certification.back to the post now,water damage has a major deterrant on electrical circuits so yes under the Electricity at works 1989 it SHOULD be tested and under law could be enforced as it is seen as a risk to health and safety.Under this law a landlord must support his electrical Installation with certification(only way it can be deemed NOT a risk).

cheers kinzy

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That is completely different to saying that a test MUST be carried out every 5 years - it is simply stating that electrical equipment must be safe, which is no different from what the law has been for some time. This "due diligence" can be shown in any number of ways, compulsory tests are certainly not the only way to do this, nor is there anything set in law regarding how to show this due diligence. Also, not all electrical works in a property are subject to Part P....

 

Perhaps most to the point, I would be extremely interested to see any statute or case law that shows that EAWR applies to private lettings, having just read the statute on the OPSI website - I would be amazed if this were the case.

 

Unless shown otherwise, and the above does NOT show otherwise, I stand by my point that electricals have to be safe, but there is nothing set in law to state what is "safe", nor are there any mandatory checks to perform by landlords - as opposed to gas regulations for example, where a landlord MUST have a valid gas safety certificate at all times. Clearly, a prudent and professional landlord will have his electricals checked periodically(ideally every year), and have ALL electrical work performed by a qualified electrician. However, this is because it is the best(but not only!) way to cover himself from liability, NOT because the law states it, in much the same way as, for example, a landlord should ensure that flagstones in a garden are level, as he would be liable should someone trip and break a bone. I would love to prove this in someway, however as the saying goes: "it is easy to disprove a theory but impossible to prove it" - ie I cannot prove something does not exist, but it can be easily proven that it does by producing it.

 

Perhaps the easiest way to sum up is that the difference between gas and electrical safety in this regard is that gas safety is covered by CRIMINAL law, electrical safety covered by general liability in CIVIL law. This therefore makes the difference between when a claim can be pursued. As it is law to have a gas safety certificate, you can pursue this as soon as the landlord does not have a valid certificate, regardless of whether the resident suffers any loss/injury/damage due to this. However, as in civil law you cannot pursue unless someones negligence has resulted in your ACTUAL loss or injury, you cannot pursue UNTIL something happens. Somewhere certainly the law should be revamped, but this is the case currently.

 

Sorry Kinzy, you are clearly knowledgeable in your field, and you will certainly be a welcome addition to the forum in this regard - however, I must disagree with the specifics mentioned with regards electricals in private rented dwellings.

 

As a side note :) welcome to the forum jessop, I am glad someone is now kicking about with some knowledge on HMOs, as that is my main lax area in letting law! I am sure you will come in most useful :)

  • Haha 1

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Hi Mr Shed

Just saying it as i see it, the way i see it is if every electrician servicing landlords houses done there job right there would be no argument, i myslef do work for a letting agent and have walked away from doing part jobs as i see it as unsafe, a lot of landlords just dont want to pay the money.An example being last week, replace switch socket and replace heating controller, work was never done and report sent back reason being faulty RCD at main board, If i was to do the work and walk away, I in my opinion would be putting others at risk, But under law because the RCD had nothing to do with my works i would walk off scott free any problems arising, A true saying is you only get what you pay for and i,m afraid more landlords are prepared to pay minimum and get the cowboys in than pay for a good professional job.Thanks for the welcome.

cheers kinzy

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Totally 100% agree Kinzy....just saying that unfortunately that isnt law....yet!!

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Kinzy/Mr Shed,

 

thank you for your replies. Both your points of view are instructive and I am very surprised the law about electricity is so weak. I am also surprised the law allows the Landlord to put you a serious risk by getting works done cheaply and get away with it :rolleyes:. So, what's the point of introducing all these laws about certified electricians if every Tom Dick and Harry can do that and nobody can check?

 

However, I did find an interesting document that clarifies some of the issues and that may be of interest for people in the forum having similar problems. Here is a link:

 

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/pdf/3-Step%20Safety%20Checks.pdf

 

Mr Srhed, this source suggests that both the Consumer Protection Act and the EAWR do apply to landlords. Also the Landlord's Negligence has caused me an ACTUAL loss - I was unable to use the kitchen for more than 3 months due to unsafe electricals and heavy dampness (and my beloved-munificent LLord continued to exact the whole rent :eek:).

 

Well, after being neglected for a long time I decided to have a certified electrician visiting the property. The report he gave me clearly states that the accident happened because the flat DOES NOT comply with current regulations. This is a clear evidence the flat is not safe - I don't think the LLord can object to that. Other pieces of evidence I found in various websites thank to Kinzy hints (thanks! :) ):

  • Part P of the regulations does apply to private rented sector and from what I read in the government official website repairing electricals after a significant accident should be subjected to it.
  • Living electrical wires joined with tape for months after an electrical accident involving water leak is a clear breach of electrical safety (http://www.firekills.gov.uk/electrical/03.htm) - "due diligence" is out of question here me think :rolleyes: .
  • While there is no official requirement for an electrical certificate, most sources state that the Consumer Act is applicable to Landlord-Tenants issues. The Landlord-supplier must ensure that property is safe and the Tenants-consumer has the right to live in a safe property and to have the house in a good state of repair. If you get a faulty good or service, you are entitled to a partial/total refund of the money.

Quite annoying a poor student like me had to pay for a proper electrical check himself, but hey!:rolleyes: my bossy LLord should not get away with what he has done. Life is too short to be bullied by unpleasant people ;) . What is left to ponder is weather this evidence is strong enough for the court...

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At work so dont have time to do a full reply - I'll say a quick couple of things:

 

- Yes that loss should be compensated.

- Part P definitely applies, just not to ALL works.

- I will read into the CPA and EAWR - as I say would be surprised if EAWR applies, not quite so if CPA applies. However, by definition, BOTH CANNOT apply - it cant be classed as both a consumer "service" and a workplace, the two are pretty much opposites in law.

 

Final note: landlordzone forum and site as a whole is an EXCELLENT source, there are some real experts on there and excellent advice, I would highly recommend it to anyone, in particular if the question cannot be answered here. I would take any information on the site itself, and information from certain forum members, way ahead of my own.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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As a point of note, I have had a couple of requests to put my detailed post above in a new thread and get it stickied - I will do so, but I want to check over the information provided by ITMC first to ensure it is not incorrect!

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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