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Electrical safety

This factsheet explains electrical safety tests, why they are so important and provides electrical safety tips for the home

Electrical safety

Why electrical safety tests are so important

Every year, about 70 people die in house fires caused by faulty electrical appliances. Regular electrical tests can protect you and your family.

If you don't allow an engineer access to your home to carry out the periodic electrical test, we have to start court action. This can lead to repossession of your home and you could be charged the court costs.

What does an electrical safety test involve?

An electrical safety check should take between two and four hours, depending on the type and condition of the electrical wiring within your home.

A suitably qualified electrician will visit your home to inspect all the electrics and, if required, will:

  • Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • Identify any defective electrical work
  • Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
  • Carry out tests on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that they're safe
  • Check any smoke alarms
  • Complete a certificate which is known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

What do I have to do?

Our contractors will send you an appointment card with a date and time, about 60 days before the current safety certificate expires. If this isn't convenient, please contact us to rearrange the appointment.

If they don't hear from you, our contractor will visit you to carry out the inspection. If you aren't at home, they'll send you a second appointment card. Again, please contact us to rearrange if this is inconvenient.

You can also contact us to arrange access into your home. If our contractors still find that they cannot gain access to your home, they'll ask us to write to you.

If we cannot make contact with you, they'll apply for a court order to gain access to your home, which could result in repossession of your home. You may also be charged £50 for each missed appointment and for any action that we take to gain access to your home, including any court costs.

We want to avoid this happening, but we'll take the necessary action to prevent our customers being put at risk. As your landlord, we're responsible for the electrical safety in your home and must make sure an electrical inspection is carried out every five years.

Following the periodic electrical inspection, remedial works may be required. Our contractors will work with you to arrange access into your home to complete these works, but failure to allow access would result in court action and possible repossession of your home.

Looking after your home 

Each year in the UK, electrical fires claim around 70 lives. These fires are mainly caused by poor electrical wiring, poorly maintained electrical appliances and overloading the electrical sockets.

What to watch out for:

  • Overloaded plug sockets
    An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so to help reduce the risk of fire, be careful not to overload them.
  • Frayed or worn cables and wires
    Check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you plug an appliance in.
  • Appliances left plugged in
    Unplug appliances when you go to bed or when you go out, unless they’re designed to be left on, like fridges and freezers. This helps to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Appliances in poor working order
    Look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights, to prevent them triggering a fire.
  • British or European safety marks
    Look for these marks when buying appliances.
  • Incorrect fuses
    It’s important to use the right fuse to make sure the cable doesn’t overheat and that the appliance is protected in the event of a fault.

What can I do to be safe?


  • Use an electrical appliance or socket if you think it’s not working properly
  • Cover an appliance or block the air vents
  • Use tape to repair damaged wires/cables
  • Use water on an electrical fire, and don’t take any risks with your safety. Pull the plug out or switch the power off if it’s safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.


  • Ensure there are no trailing cables that can cause people to trip or fall
  • Switch off and unplug appliances before cleaning or adjusting them
  • Stop using equipment immediately if it appears to be faulty – have it checked by a competent person
  • Make sure enough sockets are available
  • Check that socket outlets aren’t overloaded by using unfused adaptors as this can cause fires.

Updated: 28 February 2024

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