In the UK, the cause of over 20,000 accidental fires in homes is electricity, with 89% caused by electrical products. Therefore, to reduce this risk, the Government introduced New Electrical Safety Standards for the private rental sector that came into force in England on 1 June 2020. They applied to all new tenancies from that date and all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.
Electric Installation Condition Reports (EICR):
A contractor will carry out an inspection and test at the property. This will result in the issuing of an EICR certificate. The standards and regulations are similar to that of the Gas Safety Certificates (GSC). So, if you currently follow those by the book, the new electrical standards will seem familiar. The main aim is to keep tenants and the property safe from electric shocks, or even fires. Therefore, it is imperative to follow all regulations.
The government states that a person who is “qualified and competent” must inspect and test electrical installations every 5 years, so at a longer interval than that of a Gas Safety Certificate.
Once the inspection and report have been carried out, as a landlord you must:
- Provide a copy of the EICR certificate to existing tenants within 28 days/ new tenants before they move in.
- Provide a copy to the local authority within 7 days of them requesting it.
- Keep hold of a copy of the EICR certificate for the next inspection – the contractor will request it.
- Complete any work needed within the specified timeframe. This is usually 28 days but it can be less depending on the type of work that needs doing. Written confirmation of its completion from the contractor should be provided to the tenant and local authority within 28 days.
Looking for an Electrician:
Unlike with the Gas Safe Register, to which all gas businesses must register by law, memberships to electrical safety competent registers are not compulsory. Therefore, when looking for an electrician, it is key to establish their competence. You can do this by checking whether they are a member of an electrical safety scheme. Or the charity, Electrical Safety First, has a “Find an Electrician” section here that allows you to enter your postcode to find qualified electricians near you.
There is a fine of up to £30,000 for landlords in breach of duties. Therefore, these regulations are definitely something you want to be following. You may even want to create your own list of things to look out for at your 6-month inspection to ensure the property and tenants are not at risk.
This could include things such as:
- Broken sockets or light switches.
- Overloaded sockets.
- Equipment that is overheating.
- Cables with damage. In particular, those such as extension cables that trail on the floor and have people trod on them.
- Check bathrooms for RCD protection.
This will help to maintain good electrical safety standards among the tenants in the property and aid in preventing electric shocks, burns, or fires. It’s also worth mentioning using a registered electrician for any work that needs doing in the 5-year interval as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What is an EICR Certificate?
An EICR Certificate is a document awarded following an inspection of a property. It will state whether the property is safe, or whether there is any defects or damage that could be a danger to occupants.
Is it a Legal Requirement to have an EICR?
Yes, it is a legal requirement to have an EICR conducted every 5 years to keep your property compliant. You can be fined up to £30,000 for non-compliance.
How much does an EICR Certificate Cost?
EICR certificates tend to cost around £150 for the inspection and report.
Can I Self-Certify an EICR?
No, only someone is “qualified and competent” may carry out an EICR.
How Often Does an EICR Need to be Done?
An EICR needs to be conducted every 5 years.
What Do I Do if the EICR is Unsatisfactory?
You will need to complete any work needed within the specified timeframe. This is usually 28 days but it can be less depending on the type of work that needs doing. If work needs to be undertaken, written confirmation of its completion from the contractor should be provided to the tenant and local authority within 28 days.