One of the most important responsibilities for landlords is to ensure electrical safety across their portfolio.
And central to this is the legal requirement to have an up-to-date Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) for every property. A process which will minimise the risk of electrical fires and accidents, reassure tenants and boost landlords’ reputations.
Read on to discover what the EICR involves and how to be sure you’re meeting an important landlord obligation.
What is an EICR?
An EICR is a detailed report produced after an electrical inspection is carried out at a property by a qualified professional.
Introduced in 2020, they apply to all relevant tenancies and provide evidence that the property meets the national standards for electrical safety. This means any electrical installations should be deemed safe for continued use. And that any investigative or remedial work required is clearly flagged.
The requirement to have an EICR forms part of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. Within this, private landlords must make sure every electrical installation in their rental properties is inspected and tested.
And it needs to take place at intervals of no more than five years by a ‘qualified and competent person’.
How can I find a ‘qualified and competent person’?
The electrical safety industry has produced guidelines on how to choose a reputable tradesperson. Many are signed up to non-compulsory schemes such as the Electrical Safety Roundtable and the Registered Competent Person: Electrical.
When arranging an inspection, if they’re not affiliated to an official body, you can also ask them to sign a checklist to confirm their competence.
This can cover what experience they have, their level of insurance, and whether they hold a qualification covering the current version of the Wiring Regulations and the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations.
For landlords using a property management service, their agent can arrange an EICR inspection on their behalf, eliminating that selection process. Those organised by MakeUrMove, for example, are carried out by fully qualified, accredited, registered electricians.
Why are EICRs so important?
As all electrical installations deteriorate over time, due to both their age and usage, they need to be inspected and tested regularly to assess if they’re still safe to use.
Electrical faults, including old wiring and sockets, are the cause of over 20,000 accidental fires in UK homes each year. Aside from the obvious danger to life, if a fire happens at a property without a valid EICR, the relevant insurance policy will be invalid. An unnecessary cause of stress and expense that can be avoided by following the regulations.
The government introduced EICRs to reduce this fire risk and ensure that ‘all landlords now have to do what good landlords already do: make sure the electrical installations in their rented properties are safe.’
What does the electrical safety inspection cover?
The person carrying out the inspection will be checking the ‘fixed’ electrical components of the property. This includes the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse boxes, as well as any permanently connected appliances such as showers and extractor fans.
The electrician will also spend time checking:
The regulations don’t include unfixed electrical appliances such as cookers and TVs as these need to be checked via PAT testing.
What will the report show?
Once the inspection is complete, there’s no requirement to issue a specific landlord electrical certificate but the electrician will produce an EICR detailing:
Any remedial work will be given a classification code:
If either a C1 or C2 code is noted, the property’s electrical installation will be deemed unsatisfactory for continued use. For these, and the FI code, landlords must carry out the necessary remedial work.
For C3 codes, landlords aren’t legally required to make the recommended improvement but doing so would improve the safety of their property.
What do landlords have to do after an electrical inspection?
Once the inspection has been conducted, to guarantee compliance under the regulations, landlords must:
If remedial work isn’t completed within 28 days, local authorities can fine landlords up to £30,000 for being in breach of their duty.
It pays to keep on top of electrical installation legislation. Not just because you might avoid a hefty fine, but also to keep your tenants safe, your property up to standard and your reputation intact.
Do you need help in arranging an EICR? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.