Here is a question to the blog clinic on electrical problems from Derek (not his real name) who is a tenant
I have been looking on the web for an answer to my problem, and to be honest I’m quite desperate.
My girlfriend and I moved into a house together just over a month ago, our electrics trip out on almost a daily basis, which is a real nuisance.
We have contacted out agent who keeps sending out the same handyman, he is very pleasant but doesn’t seem to know what he is doing. He flicks a few switches, unscrews some sockets, fits them back and then leaves. We’re not even sure if he’s a qualified electrician.
A friend of mine who is an electrician told me to check the fuseboard and appliances for stickers to see when they were last tested, I have checked and there are none. I asked the agent if they have been tested and their reply was “it’s not a legal requirement”.
Furthermore, they have now told us that one of our own appliances must be causing the problem because they have never had a problem with the electrics before.
We are sure that the agent is in the wrong here, but we want to know whether there is any to prove it. Please help.
Electrical wiring – landlords obligations
The agent is right in a way – there is no legal requirement to get the electrical wiring tested regularly, not like there is for gas for example.
However under the landlords repairing obligations landlords are obliged to keep the electrical wiring in proper repair.
You may be interested in this summary of landlords obligations regarding electricity which I did a while ago but which is still valid.
Probably the best way to sort the problem would be to get your own report done.
For example is this something your electrician friend could do? Or maybe he could recommend someone. If a report is provided to the agents by a qualified electrician saying that the system is defective they will have to take notice.
Saying that it is your equipment causing the problem is an obvious ‘fobbing off’ exercise but that does not mean it is necessarily wrong. So maybe keep a note of what electrical items are on (and in particular) have just been switched on, when the system tripes out.
For example if it always trips out when you switch on the kettle you may have found your culprit. However I assume that if this was the case you would already have spotted it.
Finally, it is against the law for non qualified electricians to carry out work.
So I think you are entitled to make enquiries about the qualifications of the useless electrician who keeps being sent round to do repairs.