Electricity Problems!

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    Electricity Problems!

    Hi - some advice for my son please! He lost all lighting in his flat a week ago - just went to put a light on and nothing happened - checked all other lights and nothing. All other electrics (cooker, tv, electric shower etc) are fine - just the lights.

    The flats electricity does not have a trip switch facility and as he knows nothing about electrics, he reported this immediately to his Letting Agents.

    They have been extremely unhelpful but eventually sent round one of their staff to have a look. He was told that the problem was 'probably' a blown fuse wire, but as the Agent 'didn't have any fuse wire to hand', told my son to 'buy some 5 amp fuse wire' and do it himself.

    When he said he did not know how to do this (and I must admit I wouldn't know either..!) they were very sarcastic and told him it was as easy as changing a fuse in a plug and to basically, get on with it! He duly replaced the fuse wire and still has no lighting.

    He again went back to them and said what had happened and they replied 'the landlord is happy to send out an electrician, but if the fault is a simple fuse or is a fault 'of your making' then he will expect you to pick up the electrician's bill!

    He really doesn't want to touch the electrics again, as he is worried that he will do something wrong and blow the electrics in the whole flat!

    Comments/suggestions as to what to do next please - surely he shouldn't be expected to play around with electrics?

    Tell L about s.11 of LTA 1985 and watch the sparks fly?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


      Under no circumstances should anybody who is not confident with electrics be expected to repair a fuse. As the current regulations require circuit breakers to be used, repairable fuses are becoming less and less common in domestic wiiring installations. If the landlord or his agent is not capable of sending a "handyman" around to sort the problem out, or doing it themselves, then the services of an electrician should be engaged. Unfortunately apportioning the cost of this is difficult. A failing light bulb can cause a fuse to blow (it invariably trips a circuit breaker) as can tenant's faulty electrical equipment. This is why the ability to repair a fuse is very useful. In days of yore, it was in the science syllabus of every secondary school as was wiring up a plug, but in view of the attention paid by pupils to science lessons these days, few have picked up the ability!

      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


        There is plenty of info on the internet about how to mend a fuse...there is even a free video....just google for it.

        I guess you need to know whether your dealing with rcd's or old fashioned fuses. If its the former, it usually only requires you to push a button or push up a switch.

        I would agree that messing around is not a good idea if you don't know what you are doing.

        Isn't there a nice neighbour next door.?
        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

        * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

        You can search the forums here:


          Its actually pretty simple to change a fuse wire, but if he is not sure here are a couple of options

          1) Pull out another fuse holder and compare the way the wire is screwed in to the way your son has done the lighting fuse. It should then be obvious if it is done correctly.

          2)If your son looks at the fuse box would I be right in saying that the fuses are colour coded eg blue, red etc. These would give the fuse ratings. If there is another circuit with the same rating as the lighting circuit(i.e same colour)he could pull that one out and plug it into the lighting circuit. if the lights work he has not wired the fuse correctly. If they do not work there is some other problem i.e a loose connection somewhere in the lighting circuit and you need a sparks.


            Dont know if this helps but you used to be able to buy trip switchs for old type fuse boxes. They pushed in just like the old type fuse but had a trip switch on the front of it. Certainly saves mucking around with fuse wire and not having the cost of replaceing the whole of the fusebox.

            Hope this helps


              Thanks everyone for your help - my son now has lights again!


                I am a little late in chipping in here, but LJ Denning made the following judgement that every landlord and letting agent should have as a printed and framed plaque for tenants to see. AFAIK, it has not been superseded by any other cases. (my emphasis in red)

                Warren v Keen [1954]

                Court of Appeal, 1953

                Held: The tenant must repair damage to the premises caused, wilfully or negligently, by him, his family and his guests.

                A leading decision on tenant's repairing obligations.

                This case concerned a tenant on a weekly statutory tenant. The landlord sued his tenant for deterioration in the state of the demised premises. Although there was no covenant on the part of the tenant to do repairs, the landlord sought to put this obligation on the tenant, claiming the tenant had a duty to keep the premises wind-and-water-tight and to make general repairs.Yet, this was an important case in defining the parties' respective repairing obligations.

                In this judgement, Denning LJ stated:

                'What does "to use the premises in a tenant-like manner" mean ? ..The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do those little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house wilfully or negligently; and he must see that his family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, he must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls out of repair owing to fair wear and tear, lapse of time or for any reason not caused by him, then he will not be liable to repair it.'
                Whether or not the tenant feels confident in changing a fuse, and despite the fact that the agent did not handle the matter at all professionally, it is down to him to change the fuse.
                On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.


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