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on the 26th of july my boyfriend went to get my daughter out of bed he put her down on the floor to turn the landing light on and got a bad electric shock of it, it shot him to the floor and we spent most of the night in a+e so the next day i rang my letting agents up and told them because the light switch on the landing i think has but put up by my landlord or his son who are not electricians, my letting agents said they will get someone out asap but they have to ask my landlord does he want to get someone out and he most of said yes cause an hour later he was banging on the door i said he couldnt come in cause he has to give me 24hour notice but he pushed past me and started shouting at my bf saying how dare you mess around with my electrics and then said to me he wants me out cause im trashing his house it has been over a week now and no-one has been about the electrics. oh and may i add the is also a switch next to a plug socket in my daughters room that sets the alarm off what should i do cause my bf wants to sue him

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It sounds like a fault with the wiring on the metal box behind the switch, and your B/F touched a live screw, you did not say if it knocked out all the electrics, as wondering if its installed with an RCD? The switch next to the socket maybe a fused spur for the alarm system which is correct. Your best bet would be to contact trading standards, as all let property should have a 'periodic inspection report' prior to letting, also any work on the property should have been installed by a electrician with part P as a minimum qualification. If there are any electrical appliances in the property, they should be PAT tested and have a sticker on them when tested and next test due date. Your agent and landlord will know this, so explains why he has tried to blame your B/F for the incident. If this involved gas, then the authorities would throw the book at him (L/L) but with electrics they seem to turn a blind eye. I could tell you stories about electrics in let properties all day and night, but unfortunately it takes someone to die to have the L/L up in court. Hope i have been of some help.

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we spent most of the night in a+e

I can understand your concern, but just for the record this isn't strictly necessary. If the shock doesn't kill you or burn you there-and-then, there's no longer-term effect and nothing for the medics to do other than calm you down and look you over.

Please be assured that your boyfriend doesn't face any ongoing risk from the shock he's had (horrible though it was)

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i am the first tenant nothing has any stickers on he told the letting agent he had everything checked before i moved in i moved in on the 17th of april this year. the landlord has gone alot of things hisself like the kicthen and shower but it didnt knock the electrics off but there is still a live feed coming of the whole of the switch cause i bought myself one of them screwdriver where it detices live ac/dc currents and the screwdriver lighted up when i put it on the switch and all of the casing my bf didnt touch the screw just switch the light on

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I can understand your concern, but just for the record this isn't strictly necessary. If the shock doesn't kill you or burn you there-and-then, there's no longer-term effect and nothing for the medics to do other than calm you down and look you over.

According to the tutor in the first aid at work course I did, that's not strictly true. He said that because of hormone imbalances in the brain which can be created by a serious electric shock, there is a slightly but significantly increased risk of a heart attack in the 12 hours or so following the shock, even if you feel completely recovered. You should ideally spend that period in a hospital (so that if necessary you can be treated immediately), but as a bare minimum you should not be on your own for the 12 hours following a mains electric shock.

Do the rules about PAT testing and RCDs that apply to workplaces also apply to private residential lets on ASTs? The inquest following this incident seemed to establish that they don't:

The Whittall family has called for a legal loophole to be closed to protect tenants from properties with electrical faults.

Landlords who lease properties currently need a regular gas safety certificate for boilers but there are no laws in place to ensure an annual certificate for safe wiring.

In a statement, Mr Whittall, a builder, said: 'I remain deeply concerned that there is a gap in the legislation which permitted this incident to occur and which puts others at risk.

'Whilst landlords of rented properties are obliged to provide an annual gas safety certificate, no such regulation applies in relation to electrical wiring in rented properties.

'As we have learnt our cost, a fault in an electrical installation is every bit as dangerous as a faulty gas supply.'

The inquest heard property owner Hilary Thompson had the house rewired in 1981 but since then her husband had carried out regular checks himself.

Cornwall coroner Andy Cox said it was 'inexplicable' that a loophole in the law existed.

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i am the first tenant nothing has any stickers on he told the letting agent he had everything checked before i moved in i moved in on the 17th of april this year.

This report cost between £150 and £300 to produce, so trust me the L/L won't have commissioned one, they never do. It sound as though the switch face plate is metal, and the L/L won't of wired it up properly, the thing is dangerous. If you can afford it, get an electrician in to repair it and bill the agent or L/L direct. Get the electrician to write on his certificate he'll give you, the condition of the switch as he found it. If he won't pay, ask to see the test certificate from pre-tenancy testing, and also the building control certificates for any work he's done recently, with the name and address of the electrician who carried out the work, and also the PAT testing certificate for any appliances in the property, this should get a result. At the end of the day the property is probably full of bodged wiring done by the L/L and you have every right to break you letting agreement if it can be proved faulty and dangerous and he won't do anything about it. As for your deposit, a small claims court will come down on your side with good evidence. Good luck.

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According to the tutor in the first aid at work course I did, that's not strictly true. He said that because of hormone imbalances in the brain which can be created by a serious electric shock, there is a slightly but significantly increased risk of a heart attack in the 12 hours or so following the shock, even if you feel completely recovered.

See below*. There's not going to be any direct effect on the brain - if the current reached there you'd be dead.

Usual scenario is painful nerve stimulation, which if it reaches the heart can send it into fibrillation or stop it. And burns at the contact point if it's a bad 'un.

You should ideally spend that period in a hospital (so that if necessary you can be treated immediately), but as a bare minimum you should not be on your own for the 12 hours following a mains electric shock.

I'd agree about not being on your own immediately after because of the risk of post-event shock (of the non-electrical kind, just like after an accident). Not necessary to be hospitalised though. *Maybe this is what the tutor meant - the adrenaline etc reaction after any traumatic event is going to cause some odd reactions. It's not electrically-related though.

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The guy is only alive because he was either standing on carpet or wearing rubber soled shoes. 50 milli amps will kill a person in bare feet stood on ground or a metal object thats grounded.

A.B

I'm very familiar with the Whittall family case, someone should of gone to prison or find heavily for that incompetence, if you where electrocuted in Mc D's during a family visit, you would be able to claim thousands in compensation, but if your an amateur landlord it's classed as an accident, its all bo**ocks. The new strict gas rules only came about because of insurance companies insisted on them. MP's won't do anything to add red tape to letting, I wonder why?

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I'm very familiar with the Whittall family case, someone should of gone to prison or find heavily for that incompetence,

But no-one did, I presume - and according to the story - because there isn't actually any law against letting a residential property with an unsafe electrical installation.

if you where electrocuted in Mc D's during a family visit, you would be able to claim thousands in compensation, but if your an amateur landlord it's classed as an accident, its all bo**ocks.

It's an accident in both cases: but McD's is required to conform to workplace health and safety requirements (and have public liability insurance), whereas it appears that no such requirements exist in relation to the electrics of a privately rented home. My question, therefore, is: has the OP's LL actually broken any laws in this case? Or, in the case of someone renting a home, is it purely a case of caveat emptor as far as the electrics are concerned?

Presumably the LL could be sued in a civil court for negligence, but the plaintiff would have to show that she was owed a duty of care by the defendant. In the absence of any statute law relating to electrics, I guess that might be difficult.

Edited by The Ayatollah Buggeri

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been to my letting agent they have said the landlord has been to my house and there was nothing wrong with the switch he didnt even go up stairs he turned the down stairs light on and they said they have the electric certificate i said i only have a gas certificate and they said thats the only one u should have is this right. and in my tenacy agreemant it said i should have a copy of his insurance i aint even got that either

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As I've mentioned before, there are no statutory regulations for electricity and letting, most apply to electricity at work. I will bet any money you like there will be no test certificates from the landlord, and no pre-tenancy inspection certificate; meaning he did all the work himself, contravening BS7671: 2008, requiring electrical work to be installed or altered by a competent person only. Treat letting agents the same a estate agents, prepared to lie for money. This is the only one you will get him on, as the the rest is a legal minefield, that small L/L's can riddle out of with ease. Most people have never even heard of The Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1994, which covers electrical appliances in rented property. He only needs to plead ignorance to get out of this regulation as many do.

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But no-one did, I presume - and according to the story - because there isn't actually any law against letting a residential property with an unsafe electrical installation.

Absolutely, you can let any old electrified property even dating from the 40/50's with no means of emergency fault disconnection of any sort. As you pointed out earlier, a let property is not a business premises, so has light touch regulation regarding the electrical systems. The Whittall case had some amazing buck passing, the owner said she asked her electrician to check it, the electrician said he was never informed it needed checking and so on. Until electricity in rented property is lifted to the same status as gas, many more Tennant's will continue to be electrocuted. This is unlikely to happen as gas explosions in properties cost insurance companies lots of money, dead Tennant's are not so costly, thats the plain truth.

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Just because you had a shock doesn't necessarily mean that there's live mains voltage present on the switch. There could be numerous reasons why the person had a high electrical charge such as the type of carpet, footwear, and what they were doing prior to the shock, and touching the switch provided a route to ground for this charge. As an example I can build up quite a charge on the carpets in my flat when I'm wearing my merrill sandles and using my Dyson vacuum cleaner and can get a belt after touching something later on.

Having said that though these particular circumstances sound suspect, particularly with being thrown away from the source which is typical with a.c. currents. The lighting should all be on the same circuit and you could isolate the lighting by switching off the circuit in the fuse box if you have a modern breaker type fuse box or removing the fuse wire for the lighting circuit in the older style. This is what I would do until the problem was resolved with the minor inconvenience of using candles or torches for a few days.

Having said that though, whilst the lighting should be on a separate circuit than the sockets, you also mention that it wasn't done by a professional, so I'd be worried that they'd not wired up the neutral and live wrongly anywhere, or mixed the sockets and lighting up on the same circuit.

There are plenty of guidelines you have to follow when doing the home electrics such has not exceeding a certain length of wiring on ring mains, watching out for ambient heating near wiring such as from radiators, and lots of other stuff.

My expertise is in small signal electronics so whilst I know a little bit about it I know that I'm not an expert in home electrics so I'd get an expert in.

Edited by crapstones

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As I've mentioned before, there are no statutory regulations for electricity and letting

Correct.

....meaning he did all the work himself, contravening BS7671: 2008, requiring electrical work to be installed or altered by a competent person only.

Not quite, the regulations specify major works and exclude minor work. Fitting a switch and the majority of the tasks involved in rewiring a house can be treated as minor work.

Treat letting agents the same a estate agents, prepared to lie for money. This is the only one you will get him on, as the the rest is a legal minefield, that small L/L's can riddle out of with ease. Most people have never even heard of The Electrical Equipment (safety) Regulations 1994, which covers electrical appliances in rented property.

Sparkle your reply is so angry you sound like Citizen Smith. I reproduce a more balanced view of the legal position below:

Electrical Safety - the Key Points

There are around 30 deaths and 4,000 accidents annually in the UK involving electrics, so don't think it can't happen in your properties.

If you let property in England & Wales you must ensure that electrical equipment and the electrical system are safe.

There is currently no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical equipment as there is with gas, but it advisable to do so as you can still be liable if things go wrong.

You should ensure that tenants are given copies of operating and safety instructions for ALL equipment in the premises and you should carry out regular checks.

Some gas service companies (Gas Safe Registered) now do electrical checks when they do the annual gas checks.

Electrical Safety in Rental Property

Apart from the Landlord's Common Law duty of care, the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (and several other statutory regulations see below) requires that the electrical equipment is safe at the start of every tenancy and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.

Electrical hazards are also covered by the Housing Health and safety Rating System under the Housing Act 2004.

In the case of commercial property and houses in multiple occupation there is a statutory duty under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 for the responsible person (the property manager) to carry out annual Fire Safety Risk Assessments, which include electrical safety risks.

If you let property you must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe - failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in:

A fine of £5,000 per item not complying

Six month's imprisonment

Possible manslaughter charges in the even of deaths

The Tenant may also sue you for civil damages

Your property insurance may be invalidated

These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive.

Read the article "Electrical Checks - Why bother? by Grant Roy MSc MIEE, chartered electrical engineer.

Landlord Guide

It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate. But, should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable.

Manage your property well and the risks to you as landlord or agent are minimal, but manage it badly and your risks are high.

You are advised to make visual inspections yourself as landlord or agent in residential properties (record on a safety checklist) and have periodic checks carried out by a qualified electrician.

Ideally, ensure that the electrical system complies with the latest wiring regulations.

Make sure a circuit breaker (RCD) is fitted to power circuits.

Keep supplied appliances to a minimum.

Make sure appliances supplied are complete and in working order - keep purchase receipts.

Pay particular attention to second hand equipment - always have these items checked.

Ensure that operating instructions and safety warning notices are supplied with the appliances.

Ensure that flexes are in good order and properly attached to appliances and plugs.

Ensure that earth tags are in place.

Ensure that plugs are of an approved type with sleeved live and neutral pins.

Ensure that plugs and sockets conform to BS1363 or BS1363/A for heavy duty uses.

Ensure that all fuses are of the correct type and rating.

Make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch.

Make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory.

If you are in any doubt about the wiring or the safety of any appliances consult a qualified electrician.

Regulations

There is no statutory obligation on landlords or agents to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe.

In January 2005 new legislation under Part P of the Building Regulations make it a requirement that for certain types of electrical work in dwellings, plus garages, sheds, greenhouses and outbuilding comply with the standards. This means a competent electrician must carry out the work. (My comment - a major flaw is that an electrician working in a business is regarded as competent if the business employs an electrician who is certified, the person doing the work doesn't have to be certified)

For DIY electrical work you must belong to one of the Government's approved Competent Person Self-Certification schemes or submit a building notice to the local authority before doing the work. (My comment - Not sure this is correct, I've never heard of self certification schemes.)

Compliance

We strongly recommend that any Landlord, regardless of whether they see themselves as running a business or not, should make absolutely sure they are complying with these regulations to ensure that all electrical equipment supplied is safe.

In order to do this we recommend:

Annual visual inspections by the landlord or agent - recording this on a safety checklist.

Inspections on tenant change-overs, recording electrical equipment, its condition and fuses fitted - see PAT Testing.

Periodic inspections of electrical equipment by a qualified electrician.

5 yearly inspections by a qualified electrician to ensure safety and that the electrical system complies with current electrical regulations.

Keep all records of these inspections.

Due Diligence

In the event of a tenant complaint or an incident the defence of "due diligence" may be accepted where it can be shown that the landlord or agent took all reasonable steps to avoid committing an offence - you will need documentary evidence of this.

A private owner letting a single dwelling (not in the course of business) may have a defence, whereas an agent acting on his behalf will not. However, an agent merely introducing a tenant and not becoming involved in the inventory or management of the tenancy my well be exempt from liability.

© LandlordZONE® 1999-2010 All Rights Reserved - never rely totally on our standard answers and general content which relates primarily to England & Wales. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and seek appropriate professional advice with the full facts of the case and all documents to hand. LandlordZONE.co.uk®

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Given that these legal obligations do exist under the 1985 and 2004 legislation, how on earth did the LL of the woman who got electrocuted in Cornwall get away without being on the receiving end of any legal action?!

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Given that these legal obligations do exist under the 1985 and 2004 legislation, how on earth did the LL of the woman who got electrocuted in Cornwall get away without being on the receiving end of any legal action?!

It does surprise me. But I think the Coroner only has a duty to determine the cause of death. Any subsequent action has to be initiated by an interested party. It is a shame that no one took up the case. Pragmatically though the necessary legislation already exists to dissuade landlords from neglecting their responsibilities.

We all know the law is impartial, a millionaire caught stealing from a dustbin is subject to exactly the same penalties as a tramp caught stealing from a dustbin.

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Correct.

Not quite, the regulations specify major works and exclude minor work. Fitting a switch and the majority of the tasks involved in rewiring a house can be treated as minor work.

Oh how the clueless post on this site.

A minor works certificate is for replacement of like for like e.g a broken socket replacement, however if it's in a kitchen or bathroom, it's notifiable to building control.

An electrical installation certificate is for the addition of a new circuit back to the consumer unit, and if in a kitchen or bathroom or garden area, is notifiable to building control.

Any work, and I repeat.....any electrical work should be carried out by a competent person only and the correct certificate issued.

Rewiring a house is a major works, so only a qualified electrician con do it.

BS7671:2008 covers everything electrical from rewiring a factory to replacing a broken socket in your home.

If the landlord replaced the light switch recently, he should be able to produce a 'minor works certificate issued by a electrician, but I'd be surprised if he paid for it to be done.

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Sparkle your reply is so angry you sound like Citizen Smith. I reproduce a more balanced view of the legal position below:

[

The names 'sparkie' dose this give you a clue to my job? Citizen Smith eh, I'm not angry, I just have a dislike for landlords and letting agents. I take it your one, looking at your cut and paste job from 'landlord zone' I bet you even do your own electrical work, am I right?

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The names 'sparkie' dose this give you a clue to my job? Citizen Smith eh, I'm not angry, I just have a dislike for landlords and letting agents. I take it your one, looking at your cut and paste job from 'landlord zone' I bet you even do your own electrical work, am I right?

There were any number of sites that I could have cut and pasted the relevant details from. Landlord Zone just happened to have a reasonably concise exposition of the present legal situation regarding electrical work.

I also read BS7671:2008 and your assertions don't correspond with what it says.

You still sound like Citizen Smith to me.

TBH I don't do my own electrical work, nor plumbing, carpentry, carpet fitting and so on. I do decorate my own house though, perversely I quite enjoy it.

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Sleepwell your giving your age away now, as I've seen re-runs of Citizen Smith I know what you mean, but I can assure you I not him and live well away from Tooting. Most sparkies when they pass there 17th edition throw the red book in the back of the van forever. Your best bet if you want to do your own electrics, is to get hold of a copy of 'the electricians guide to the building regulations' it's a green small book. I've nothing against you doing your own electrics in your own home, just not in a property your letting out, after all I do my own plumbing, cos I'm too tight to pay for a plumber, but I certainly won't touch gas. Electrics (domestic) now all revolve around Part P, it was introduced to stop homeowners and landlords from doing there own electrics, and it's been a spectacular failure, as you can still go down to B&Q and buy all the electrics you want. In certain rooms you have to notify your local council to do electrics and it's a bit of a nightmare, and cost a fortune to become registered. When you employ an electrician your paying for the testing which proves the electrics safe, an that's what its all about.

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Regardless of what the law says and whether the landlord is technically in breach of something or other, his flippant attitude with a tenants safety and aggressive uncooperative nature makes him scum in my book. I recommend paying someone to beat the crap out of him. Scum like this need to be taken care of before someone loses their life so they can save a few quid. I'm serious. This situation requires consequences for him, and maybe others in his shoes will rethink how they value other peoples lives.

Edited by cybernoid

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Um, I no nothing of these matters but am pretty sure that there should be a valid risk assessment in place for rented accomodation and if an electrocution were to occure that the HSE would be interested and anyone who has anything to do with them knows of thier omnipotence.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/BuyingAndSellingYourHome/RentingAHome/DG_4001394

'Electrical safety

By law, your landlord must make sure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances supplied with the let, like washing machines and toasters, are safe to use. Your landlord must make sure electrical wiring and appliances are maintained in a safe condition for the length of the tenancy.

If your landlord supplies new appliances, he or she should also provide any accompanying instruction booklets.'

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