As a property manager or a landlord of commercial or domestic properties, you must ensure that the electrics inside these rental properties is adequately maintained.
Since 1st July 2020, by law in England, it is required that for all private tenancies, inspection and testing of the electrics in a property are carried out. An electrician must carry out this work with the relevant qualifications before any new tenant moves into the property.
If, as a landlord or property manager, you fail to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report carried out, this can result in you being fined as much as £30,000,
So What Is An EICR?
The EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report is vital as it helps identify any potential defects, damage, or other problems that show a risk of danger.
Also, as part of this report, the qualified electrician will provide recommendations for any improvements that should or need to be made to any rental properties.
However, there is another certificate that landlords can obtain. This is the Landlord´s Electrical Safety Certificate and is accepted as a legitimate EICR as it meets electrical safety standards.
Is An Electrical Condition Report Needed?
Yes, whether a commercial or domestic property is rented out, all electrical installations within it must be covered by an up-to-date report.
However, it is worth noting that although there is no legal requirement to have such a report, you will find in many legal documents that these are referred to as a way of satisfying specific needs. One such legal document is the Electricity at Work Act.
Were a person to rent out a property, and the tenant was then electrocuted due to the electrics being hazardous, they could be prosecuted.
Unfortunately, if the majority of landlords claim that they were not aware that the electrics in the building was in poor condition, it will not be a suitable defence.
Most local councils or any housing authority will insist that before they obtain a licence to rent out any properties, they must provide them with a current electrical condition report.
What Will The Electrician Inspect & Test?
After you have arranged for a qualified electrician to come and carry out this work for you, they will inspect and test the following electrical items within the property.
- All electrical wiring – including any faulty wiring
- Will carry out an electrical safety check of all plug sockets
- Carry out an electrical safety inspection of all light fittings
- They will inspect the fuse box to ensure it meets all electrical safety regulations
- Plus, they will inspect any equipment connected to an electrical supply, such as extractors and showers, as part of their electrical safety report.
What Happens During The Inspection?
During the inspection, it is used to help identify any of the following:
- Any electrical installations, such as consumer units, may be overloaded.
- They look at any damaged or defective electrical installations that could put people at risk of getting an electrical shock or them being a fire hazard.
- The electrician will be able to identify any defective electrical work.
- They will also look to see if there isn´t any earthing or bonding. Both are built into electrical installations and are crucial as they help reduce the risk of electrical shocks.
What Isn´t Covered By The EICR?
The only things that EICR covers in any domestic or commercial property are fixed electrical installations.
So all electrical appliances such as washing machines, fridges, cookers, televisions, and small devices such as kettles and toasters are not covered.
Therefore, you should ask the electrician to conduct a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) on these items. Property managers and landlords should then provide this to their tenants to show that such inspections have been carried out.
However, if the tenants choose to use their appliances, they must ensure they are safe.
What´s The Report About?
Anyone who chooses to rent out any property must obtain their EICR from the qualified electricians who has completed the inspection and test.
Within the report, the qualified person will explain the outcome of the inspections and tests. It will also indicate to the landlord or property manager any further investigation or remedial action that may be required.
Once the report has been received by the landlord or property manager, they must supply a copy of it to their tenants within 28 days.
Such inspections and tests should have been carried out before the tenant moved into the property. Therefore, the property manager or landlord should be able to provide this to the tenant before they take up occupancy or within 28 days should the tenant request a copy of the original report.
However, the local housing authority requests a copy of this report. In that case, the property manager or landlord must provide this to them within seven working days of being asked to provide it.
Should the report show that further investigation or remedial works must be carried out, the landlord must provide written confirmation that such results have been completed. They will need to provide these to their tenant and the local authority within 28 days after the work has been completed.
Furthermore, all landlords or property managers must retain a copy of the EICR. This will then provide to the next qualified person who will conduct the next inspection and testing of the electrical installations on the property.
What Does The Report Contain?
The whole aim of an EICR is to show that the electrical installations in the property are safe to use.
When inspecting and testing the property’s electrical installations, the qualified person will use specific classification codes in the report. The point of these classification codes is to show the landlord or property manager what remedial works must be undertaken.
The codes that most often appear in an EICR as remedial notices are as follows:
- C1(Code 1) – This shows that there is danger present, and it could lead to a risk of injury to tenants or visitors to a property. However, the electrical inspector carrying out this periodic inspection and tests may undertake any work that will help ensure that any Code 1 hazards are safe before they leave the premises.
- C2 (Code 2) – It helps to identify any potential danger, such as electric shock to the tenants.
- FI (Further Investigation) – If this appears on the EICR as part of the remedial notices, it shows that further electrical inspection is required immediately.
How Often Will An EICR Be Needed?
For privately owned properties, it is recommended that home or business owners have such carried out every ten years.
However, when renting out any property for residential or commercial use, it is mandatory for the investigation and testing of the premise’s electrical installations to be carried out every five years.
What Happens If Private Landlords Or Property Managers Fails To Comply With This?
Should they fail to comply with the regulations set out in the EICR, as already mentioned, they could face penalties of up to £30,000, which will be imposed by the local social housing authority where the property is situated.