Is There More Than One Type Of Electrical Saftey Certificate For Landlords?
In this article, we are going to discuss :
For the average landlord, electrical safety certificates like an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report), are incredibly important documents. Having a valid EICR can save you a lot of trouble when letting out a property!
When it comes to any rental property, checking your electrics (wiring, sockets and appliances) may feel like yet another hoop landlords have to jump through to let their property out. But if you haven’t got up-to-date electrics then your property will be at greater risk of faults or fire. You may even be prevented from letting the property altogether if your electrics aren’t up to standard!
After providing property management services to hundreds of landlords, we understand the hassle of dealing with EICRs and, the onslaught of remedial works that tend to come with them. We are going to discuss the criteria behind EICR certificates, as well as how to acquire one and everything you can do as a landlord to make sure you stay on top of your property’s electrical safety!
Is It A Legal Requirement To Have An Electrical Certificate At A Property?
An EICR is a report obtained from the inspection of a property’s fixed electrical elements and wiring by a qualified electrician. An EICR will provide proof that all of the permanent electrical installations (from light fittings to extractor fans) and plug sockets, including the fuse box at the property – have been tested and are compliant with all regulations as of the 2020 update to the Private Rented Sector Regulations.
You do not need an EICR for your own home but, an EICR is required for nearly all forms of rental property, including HMOs, with very few exemptions applying. Landlords have to keep a copy of their EICR at their property to present to a tenant when they move in. This is a legal requirement and failing to provide an up-to-date copy of the latest EICR report can lead to a voided tenancy agreement.
The main purpose of the EICR is to inform both the relevant local authority and, any tenant moving into a property, that the landlord is complying with the current regulations and that the property is safe to live in. Providing a copy of an EICR is just the same as including a copy of the most recent gas site certificate or a copy of the property’s energy performance certificate.
What Does An Electrical Safety Check Involve?
The inspection of the property will check to see if any electrical installations at the property are:
- Overloaded (plug sockets).
- Have the potential to cause fire
hazards and put residents at risk of electric shock.
- If any electrical works at the property are defective.
- Sockets and elements show a lack of bonding or earthing (this reduces the likelihood of installations causing electrical shocks).
After inspecting each element at the property to determine how safe it is, a rating will be issued based upon the following ranking system:
- C1: Imminent danger or risk of injury. Work must be done on the property immediately.
- C2: Potentially dangerous hazards identified. Work must be done on the property as soon as possible.
- C3: Improvements suggested, but not required or urgent.
In the case of a C1 or, C2 being marked on the report, remedial work will be required on the property. Failure to comply with these measures or, take action after being notified to carry out improvements to a property’s electrical safety, can result in a string of heavy fines for landlords and potentially, even see their property de-listed and prevent landlords from renting out their property entirely.
As of the 2020 update to this legislation, landlords can now be fined up to £30,000 for non-compliance if they don’t carry out the necessary remedial works to comply with regulations. Additionally, a local authority may serve notice against the landlord of a non-compliant property, taking action to ensure the property is safe to live in by itself.
The resulting notice may or may not be lifted, until after the local authority has recovered the costs of ensuring the property is compliant and safe to live in from the landlord, potentially barring the landlord from letting out the property for the foreseeable future. In other words, if you get told to make changes to your property’s electrics, make sure you do them swiftly!
As of the 2020 update to the Private Rented Sector Regulations, landlords have to make sure they take the following steps to comply:
Make sure all electrical installations are adequately tested by a qualified individual every 5 years and obtain a report of each inspection
Provide a copy of the EICR to any existing tenant at a property within 28 days of the inspection. If you’re taking on a new tenant and they request a copy of the EICR, provide a copy within 28 days of receiving a request before they move into the property.
Provide a copy of any new reports to the local authority within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
Keep a copy of the report for your records and an additional copy to give to the inspector/tester who will be at the next inspection and test of the property.
If the report shows that further investigative or remedial work is required, complete this work within 28 days or as soon as necessary according to the report.
- You must provide written confirmation of the completion of any works to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of all work being completed.
Who Can Carry Out An EICR Inspection?
As we mentioned earlier, you need a qualified and certified electrician to inspect your property’s electrics. The electrician who performs the check on your property is required to sign off and consent that they have carried out the inspection. Additionally, an electrician may suggest certain remedial works be carried out either to prevent the property from failing to meet the requirements for the EICR or, to potentially future-proof the property against electrical faults in the future.
You need to ensure that your electrician is clear on the legally required changes to the property and that you receive these changes in writing with the report. All other remedial work should be suggested separately, especially at older properties, which are far more likely to require more remedial work.
Remedial works can involve anything from changing or upgrading the type of light bulbs at the property, to replacing plug sockets with USB ports, switching standard light switches to dimmers and so on. However, it’s hard to know if you’re being quoted a fair price for whatever works are being recommended by an electrician. On some occasions, an electrician might even suggest changing the consumer unit at a property, which is considerably expensive and not always necessary for remedial work!
Many electricians are just doing their job and being thorough when recommending what remedial works you can carry out to your property. However, we would still advise you to take the following steps when dealing with an electrician whose working at your property on your EICR or any remedial works:
- Ensure the electrician clearly marks whatever issues they have found at the property are classed as C1, C2 and C3 and whether their proposed work solves the issue. This will help you decide whether you want to pay for works included in the non-mandatory C3 category or to leave things as they are for now.
- Agree on a timetable for works to be completed before the electrician starts work and get confirmation of all works to be carried out and the completion date, in writing.
- Agree on costs and also any up-front costs for materials if you have agreed with the electrician to make any remedial changes in advance and ensure you get this down in writing. Always ask for and keep a record of receipts and avoid dealing in cash as much as possible.
- If you have any concerns or, consider making changes during the inspection or subsequent remedial work, talk to your electrician about them instantly before you request changes. This will save you time and money and avoid stress from prolonging the work for longer than required.
- Remember that after the work has been completed, make sure you receive a copy of your EICR which contains all the correct and inclusive changes that have been made at the property to your electrics from the electrician.
In terms of how much you pay for your EICR, the average starting price for an inspection and certificate varies depending on how much work is carried out and what service you choose to use. You can find suitable electricians and advice on what to expect from remedial works and pricing through websites like the electrical safety roundtable or on the website for RCP. Great companies like My Constructor offer fantastic services for issuing property certifications of all kinds, including Gas Safety Certificates and EPCs.
Don’t Leave Your Property’s Electrical Safety To The Last Minute. Why Don't You Book Your Property’s EICR Through Flex Living?
Other Landlord Electrical Safety Certificates
There are two other notable types of electrical safety certificates for landlords to acquire. One is more circumstantial and depends on the type of property the landlord owns but the other is relevant to just about every other form of property a landlord could own.
If a landlord owns a newly built property, then this property requires an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC), as all the wiring, sockets and permanent electrical fixings at the property are brand new and need to be checked for correct installation. If the installation has been done correctly and the EIC is issued, the landlord then provides a copy of the certificate to a tenant, as well as the local authority. After this, the landlord isn’t required to carry out any checks on the electrics at the property, for the next 5 years.
After these 5 years have passed, the landlord will follow the same procedure for an EICR, to ensure the property meets the criteria we discussed previously. However, whereas providing an EIC is a legal requirement, landlords can also carry out voluntary testing on all the non-permanent and portable appliances installed at the property (such as fridges, microwaves and kettles) using PAT testing.
This is completely at the discretion of the landlord and not a legal requirement but, PAT(Portable Appliance Testing) testing, can be carried out on all devices and appliances at a property which can be plugged into an electrical socket. PAT testing is a great way of staying on top of those EICR regulations, as PAT testing usually flags whether there might be any faults with your property’s electrics, by testing the appliance’s performance. If anything is wrong with the device or, the socket it’s plugged into, you’ll soon find out through PAT testing!
Don’t Leave Your Property’s Electrical Safety To The Last Minute. Book Your Property’s PAT Testing Now
Keep On Top Of All Landlord Electrical Testing
Do you struggle to keep on top of new rules for landlords? If you’re looking for a hassle-free and hands-on approach to property management, then we might have a solution for you.
Flex Living offers fantastic, 24/7 property management, including free property checks and maintenance. On top of our expert management, we offer a fantastic alternative to traditional letting, which pays our landlords improved and guaranteed rent, in advance, every month!
So whether you’re renting a property out for the first time or, a seasoned landlord, if this sounds like your idea of exceptional property management, get in touch with us today and become the latest, in a growing list of Flex Living landlords.