About The Electrical Safety Certificate for Landlords and Rentals

We take a closer look at landlord electrical checks, the landlord electrical safety certificate (EICR), and how landlords can stay compliant.

Landlord Tenant Law

Landlords must carry out routine electrical safety checks on their properties, updating their electrical inspection certificate report (EICR) every five years. These rules were implemented for existing tenancies in July 2020 and for all tenancies as of April 2021. Electrical faults are a serious risk to tenant safety these new rules aim to protect renters and reduce landlord liabilities.

In this article, we’ve put together some key information on EICRs the landlord electrical safety certificate, including what exactly an EICR involves and details of what happens if you fail to comply.

What is the landlord’s Electrical Safety Certificate?

New electrical testing requirements for landlords came into effect in April 2020. These new regulations mean that landlords must test their property must test the electrics for their property every five years as part of this still need to get an electrical installation condition report (EICR). This new safety report doesn’t need to be carried out between every new tenancy however, landlords must supply all tenants with a copy of the up-to-date report at the beginning of the tenancy.

The reason for this new Electrical Safety Reporting System

The reason this new electrical safety regulation was implemented in the UK is to improve electrical safety in homes. By formalising rules the government can ensure that every landlord is carrying out routine inspections. Ultimately, renters are better protected under these new electrical safety rules from the dangers that are posed by electricity in the home – this is a crucial improvement as electrical faults are one of the leading causes of house fires.

How much does an electrical safety certificate cost?

There are a variety of factors that will impact the end cost of your electrical safety report, including the size of your property the day rate of the electrician employed to carry out the report, and the number of appliances that you have that need to be tested.

For an accurate quote on the overall cost speak to your electrician.

testing electrical safety lights

About the new landlord electrical check rules and regulations

Landlord electricity checks involve two things, the inspection and the testing of appliances, wiring and fittings in the rental property. There are three key elements that landlords need to be aware of when it comes to gaining an electrical safety certificate.

  1. Inspections must be carried out every five years

A principal feature of the 2020 regulation is the formalisation of routine electrical inspections for private rented sector properties.

Landlords must make sure all electrical installations in their property are inspected and tested by a qualified person every five years at the very least. Landlords are then legally obliged to supply a copy of the EICR or electrical inspection certificate report to new existing and prospective tenants as well as the local authority if they ask for it. Timescales for supplying the EICR are as follows:

  • to existing tenants within 28 days of the completed inspection.
  • to new tenants, the report should be supplied to them before they move in.
  • to prospective tenants within 28 days of receiving a request.
  • to local authorities within 7 days of receiving a request.

The report should be dated and have the date of the next inspection and the tests that will be undertaken. You will also need to supply a copy of the report to the next inspector.

  1. Electrical standards must meet the minimum requirements

The electrical safety standards of your privately rented property must meet the minimum electrical safety standards set out in the current edition of the “Wiring Regulations”.

If you want to know more you can review these guidelines yourself or talk through them with a qualified electrician.

  1. Carry out remedial or investigative work within 28 days

Unless a shorter time period is specified once the inspection and test have been carried out if any remedial work is required this needs to be done promptly – generally within 28 days. Thanks to modern software for electricians communication can occur digitally and it’s easier than ever to deal with this type of essential documentation.

Once the required remedial work has been carried out, your electrician will then give you a written confirmation that the work has been completed and this should be given to your tenant and the local authority.

Who do the new EICR certificate regulations apply to?

As of April 2021, all tenancies must comply with these regulations. This includes all Assured Shorthold tenancies like licences to occupy and houses of multiple occupations (HMOs).

Types of tenancies that are excluded from mandatory electrical safety

There are several exceptions that apply to situations such as social housing lodges, longer tenancies of seven years or more student halls of residence, hostels care homes and some specific health care accommodations.

To better understand whether or not an exception might apply to you you can read up on the different types of tenancies here.

What do landlords need to do to be compliant with EICR rules?

Landlords need to ensure an inspection is carried out every five years and supply the EICR report to everyone that needs one – mainly tenants. Additionally, you need to find a qualified and competent electrician to carry out the inspection and test.

Secondly, you need to prepare your property ahead of the electrical safety test. Make sure you’re clear on where all relevant installations are such as fixed electrical parts including wiring, socket outlets or plug sockets, light fittings, consumer units or fuse boxes, and permanently connected equipment like showers and extractors.

It’s important to note that tenants are responsible for ensuring the safety of their own appliances.

Can tenants move in if remedial work has been deemed necessary?

If, in your EICR, you’re the electrician has deemed remedial work necessary or that the electrical safety do not meet minimum required standards then this work should be completed within 28 days of the report.

It is best to carry out all remedial work before your new tenant moves into the property, if possible. If your tenant moves in and your property’s electrics are unsafe, they could be at risk of injury and you as the landlord will be liable.

If your property doesn’t yet have an EICR and you are a new landlord renting out your property for the first time, you should make sure to book your EICR well in advance of the tenancy start date.

What if your property is not compliant with electrical safety regulations?

If the local authority believes a landlord to be in breach of the duties set out by the regulations, they must serve a remedial notice to the landlord who must then carry out the action recommended.

If the local authority has concluded, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a private landlord has breached their duties under the regulations, they may issue a notice of intent to impose a financial penalty. This penalty is determined by the local authority but cannot exceed the amount of £30,000.

More details regarding remedial notices and financial penalties can be found on the government website.

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