Frequently Asked Questions, (reproduced from the web site of Electrical Safety First).


Q. What is a periodic inspection?

A. A periodic inspection is an inspection and associated testing to check whether an electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. On completion of the necessary inspection and testing, an Electrical Installation Condition Report will be issued detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliances with the present-day safety standard which might give rise to danger.

Q. Who should carry out a periodic inspection?

A. Periodic inspection and testing should be carried out only by electrically competent persons, such as registered electricians.

Q. When does a periodic inspection need to be carried out?

A. It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at the following times:

The Landlords and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords of properties with short leases to keep the electrical wiring in repair and in proper working order. We recommend landlords arrange for periodic inspection and testing to be carried out by a registered electrician at the relevant intervals shown above.

Periodic inspection and testing of the electrics should be carried out more frequently on the places and premises listed here:

Q. Does all redundant wiring have to be removed?

A. When an electrical installation is rewired, it is good practice to remove redundant wiring. If this is not possible, any redundant wiring must be permanently disconnected from any electrical supply so that it doesn’t present a risk.

Q. How can I find an electrician in my area?

A. To find a registered electrician near you, please go to the Find an Electrician section of this website where you will find information specific to your region of the UK.

Q. My electrician told me that they were registered; however I now believe that they are not, as they have not given me a certificate. What should I do?

A. First you need to find out whether the electrician you used is actually registered. To do this, contact the operator of the scheme they have claimed to be part of, and they will tell you whether this is the case. If they are registered, the scheme operator can guide you through their complaints procedure.

If you find out the electrician misled you and is not registered, you should report this to your local Trading Standards Department as they are breaking the law. We would also recommend that you get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out on your home; this will assess any work that has been undertaken and will act as sufficient documentation to certify that work. This needs to be carried out by a registered electrician and unfortunately will be an added cost for you.

Q. My electrician says I need to carry out extensive electrical work in my home. How do I know if they are telling the truth?

A. We recommend that you get at least three quotes from different electricians before you go ahead with any major electrical work in your home. We also advise that you always use a registered electrician as if you’re not happy with their work you can complain to their scheme operator, who will in turn ask them to rectify any mistakes

Q. When do I need a rewire?

A. There are no set guidelines as to when a property should be rewired. Just because your wiring’s old, it doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. Many factors can affect the wear and tear of your electrical installation, including the materials used and how your property has been used.

We would advise that a periodic inspection is carried out on owner-occupied properties at least every 10 years and every five years in rented accommodation. The test will certify whether the electrics in a property are safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading.

You should carry out regular checks around the house on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. If you notice anything unusual – for example, burn marks on plugs and sockets, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping – get a registered electrician to check your electrics as soon as possible

Q. As a landlord, what responsibility do I have in relation to the electrics in a property that I intend to let?

A. You have a duty of care to your tenant and must ensure that the installation is safe when they enter the property and is maintained throughout their tenure.

The Landlords and Tenants Act (1985) requires that the electrical installation in a rented property is:

Q. I am a landlord, how often should I have an inspection carried out in my property?

A. If you own an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), you have a legal obligation to have a periodic inspection carried out on your property every five years.

If your property is not an HMO, then you are not legally obliged to get your installation tested on a periodic basis. However, we recommend that you have a full periodic inspection carried out every five years or on change of tenancy – whichever comes first.

Our guidance is based on legal obligations set out in The Landlords and Tenant Act (1985).

Q. I have contacted my landlord on several occasions but they won’t do anything about my faulty installation, what should I do?

A. As first port of call, contact the Building Control department of your Local Authority; they should be able to advise you of your rights as a tenant.

Citizens Advice may be able to provide you with further help.

Q. I bought an electrical appliance that I think is unsafe, what should I do?

A. You should contact either Trading Standards or Citizens Advice to register your concern.

If you want to forward us supporting documentation and images relating to the product, we can objectively review its safety. Send it to enquiries@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk