There is a duty on landlords to ensure that all electrical equipment supplied by them, either new or second hand, is safe for use by their tenants.
This is because there are two primary Acts of Parliament that impose a statutory duty on landlords with respect to the safety of electrical equipment:
1. The Consumer Protection Act 1987
2. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
The 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 goods to the tenant.
There are several items of secondary legislation covered by the Consumer protection Act which are directly relevant to the supply of electrical goods, including:
1. The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
2. The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
3. The General Product Safety Regulations 1994
4. The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994
The Consumer Protection Act provides a defence of ‘due diligence’, i.e. a landlord can defend a contravention of the Act if he can demonstrate that he took reasonable steps to avoid committing the offence.
This is why a planned programme of appliance testing is essential.