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I’ve recently moved into a partially refurbished rental house in Nottinghamshire, England. I’m mostly just wanting to check that it’s generally safe.

The meter is a new (smart) meter, installed in 2018:

The fuse box is not new, and looks like this:

The labels are from my own experimentation. My first concern would be the mixture of circuit breakers and fuses. The circuit breakers are for the electrically heated shower and the downstairs lights. The “B6” breaker has this on the back:

And the “B32” has this:

The second concern is that the circuit breakers prevent the fuse box cover from fitting over the fuses.

An image of the whole setup:

And closeups of the armoured boxes:

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  • You shouldn't be messing around with the service in a rental unit. – JACK Jul 18 '20 at 14:17
  • @JACK am I expected to call out the landlords each time a breaker trips / fuse goes? – Tim Jul 18 '20 at 14:21
  • No, but you shouldn't be removing the breakers to take pictures. If something does go wrong, you could be blamed. – JACK Jul 18 '20 at 14:23
  • I agree with jack, you should not be pulling fuses that are not blown. fuses are just as safe for overcurrent as breakers , in fact they are safer because sometimes circuit breakers fail to open. I have never seen a fuse fail to open. We can not see the wire sizes as long as the fuse size corresponds with the wire it should be fine. Is that a neat install no but who knows how many times it has been upgraded. At least it appears you have a grounded system. So is it safe who knows I have seen much worse. – Ed Beal Jul 18 '20 at 15:21
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DANGER. You MUST switch off the main switch before handling fuses or MCBs on that type of fuseboard.

It's generally safe, but with some reservations.

  • The use of mixed MCBs and fuses is not in itself a problem. Wylex make retro-fit MCBs and bases to fit in place of the old fuse carriers and bases.

  • The retro-fit MCBs have a lower ability to clear high current faults (rupture capacity) than the fuses they replace, so may not be suitable in all installations and the electrician should have checked this.

  • The cover that goes over the fuses/MCBs must have an aperture cut to fit round the MCBs. Without the cover, the gap round the MCBs/fuses may not be finger-proof with the potential to touch live parts. Fuseboxes of this age usually have unguarded live busbars within. Also, the cover is required to contain any molten metal or arc that is emitted if a fuse blows. Without the cover, there is a risk of fire or arc burns.

  • The black service fuse terminations look okay, but I can't see the top edges which must not have any unblocked holes for cables.

However, the installation does not comply with the current (18th Edition, as Amended) Wiring Regulations, because:

  • no RCD on circuits
  • questionable ingress protection (touch safe) on fusebox at front with cover removed, on top side of fusebox where cables enter
  • non-metallic fusebox may not be combustion-resistant

In general, there is no requirement to upgrade an electrical installation, but there is in rental property.

The law (if you are in England) is the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

The regulations came into force on 1 June 2020, they apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

The standards that should be met are set out in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations.

The Regulations state that a landlord must ensure that electrical safety standards are met, and that investigative or remedial work is carried out if the report requires this.

The electrical installation should be safe for continued use. In practice, if the report does not require investigative or remedial work, the landlord will not be required to carry out any further work.

Landlords must obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) from the person conducting the inspection and test which explains its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work required.

Landlords must then supply a copy of this report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test, to a new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector

The lack of RCD on circuits would usually be coded C3 - Improvement required, but if there was also no supplementary bonding in the bathroom, or the sockets might be used for equipment outdoors, or there are other conditions applying, that warrants a C2 - Potentially dangerous and that will require remedial work that must be done.

https://www.electriciansforums.net/threads/eicr-and-rcds-is-it-a-c2-or-c3.172686/ and https://professional-electrician.com/technical/napit-codebreakers-14/

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  • Thanks this is great. There’s no open holes on the top of the fuse box. I’ll drop an email to them about the fuse box cover cutouts. There’s no outdoor sockets, and no outlets (including shaver plug) in the bathroom - does that make it C3? I moved in on the 15th of June so I’m guessing I should also ask about the EICR. They gave me the gas one but not the electrical one. – Tim Jul 18 '20 at 19:29
  • The black sealed fuse holder should have the HRC fuse, so the breakers only need to able to clear 200A or whatever the rating of the HRC is . – Jasen Jul 19 '20 at 3:00
  • If the cutout contains a BS88 fuse then no problem with a PSSC (prospective short circuit current) up to 16kA on the old BS3036 rewireable fuses. In a domestic install some houses are bound to be close to a transformer, with a loop low enough to achieve a 6000 amp plus fault current, the MCBs which are rated at 6kA wouldn't be large enough. BS7671 & C&G 2391 Inspection & Test insist that the protective device for each circuit is capable of withstanding the PSCC for the whole installation. I would add that as there's an electric shower that would encourage a C2 warning. – Owain Jul 19 '20 at 13:27
  • For a new tenancy starting 15 June 2020, the requirement to supply the EICR will apply from the date your fixed term rolls over to a periodic tenancy (which may be after 6 months or 1 year) or 1 April 2021, whichever is earlier. – Owain Jul 19 '20 at 13:29
  • @Owain yes, six months for mine. Thanks for the help. – Tim Jul 19 '20 at 21:34

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