Electrical Compliance For Rental Properties In The UK
Landlords and property owners are responsible for ensuring their properties are safe and habitable for their tenants. To ensure this, the government has issued legislation regarding standards that various elements of the property must meet, or else owners will face fines and sanctions.
For example, The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations require inspection of electrical installations in rental properties in the UK every five years. The regulations officially took effect in 2020, stating that only qualified electricians can perform these inspections.
Let’s dig deeper into the regulations.
What Tests Are Required?
Around 20,000 homes are victims of electrical-related accidental fires in the UK. Over 80% of these fires were caused by electrical products, while the rest were due to faulty installations.
Electrical compliance regulations require landlords to hire qualified and competent electricians to perform an electrical inspection, test, and then submit an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
What Is an Electrical Installation Condition Report?
Electrical installations incur damage from wear and tear or because of incorrect implementation. The EICR contains the inspector's assessment of the property’s electrical components.
Certified electricians inspect all installations, determine if they meet IET Wiring Regulations, and evaluate if there is damage that compromises the overall safety of the property. They also test to determine the reliability and check if there are wiring components that may cause electric shocks and high temperatures.
After inspection, the electrician will give the landlord the EICR, and the landlord must furnish a copy to the tenant within 28 days. The local housing authority may also request a copy of the EICR, and the landlord has seven days to comply.
New tenants should get a copy of the latest compliance report before they move in.
A PAT Report is not a requirement unless portable appliances belong to the landlord rather than the tenant, but it will give landlords and renters peace of mind.
While emergency lighting & fire alarm testing tends to be required in multi-family buildings, the UK government advises emergency lighting to be tested at least once a year & fire alarms at least once every six months.
Landlord Repercussions for Non-Compliance
The EICR should state that all electrical installations meet industry standards. If not, remedial work should be done. Corrective measures must be completed within 28 days unless the report says otherwise.
If the landlord fails to commission remedial work, the local housing authority may take over remedial activities and demand to recover the costs from the landlord. According to government regulations, the landlord has 21 days to pay.
On top of the remedial costs, the landlord will be fined up to £30,000 for breach of duties. Failure to get an EICR will also merit a fine starting at £5,000 for the first offence.
Is Non-Compliance a Criminal Offence?
Every tenant has the right to live in a safe and secure home. Technically, failure to submit an EICR is not a criminal offence, but it could result in one.
A tenant has the right to get a copy of the EICR. The tenant can sue the landlord if the report states that the electrical installation poses a present danger or risk of injury and the landlord did not do anything about it.
Further, if the tenant is injured due to faulty electrical installation, the tenant has the right to sue the landlord for damages. Worse, if a dangerous electrical installation results in death, the landlord may face a manslaughter charge.
Additional Reasons to Get EICR
EICR is now a legal requirement for rental properties every five years. However, even if the government did not mandate electrical testing, there are still important reasons to have a certified electrician check your electrical installations and electric-related components at home.
In some cases, landlords don’t need to wait five years to get an EICR.
Here are some other important reasons for the report:
Safety should be everyone’s number one priority. An EICR may cost between £95 and £200, depending on the size of the property. Some companies may also charge less or more than the average range. But what is a couple of hundred pounds when lives are at stake?
Improved safety also provides much-needed peace of mind for the landlord and tenant.
Reduced Chances of Fires
Misuse of equipment and appliances was the most common cause of fire in the UK in 2020. It was followed by faulty appliances and lead. While incorrect electrical installation was not technically the main cause of these fires, it may have triggered the problem or was a tipping point. Fire detection should only be a back-up.
Adequate Insurance Coverage
Reputable insurance companies require an EICR before they provide coverage. In some cases, the fine print of the document will state that insurance is only valid with an EICR. In other words, the lack of EICR could invalidate your future claim.
Trust Only Qualified Electrical Inpectors to Inspect Electrical Installations
Government regulations emphasize that only qualified and competent inspectors must inspect electrical installations.
Landlords can choose certified electricians from the following:
Electrical Safety Roundtable - an organisation focused on improving electrical safety at home and in the workplace.
Registered Competent Person Electrical - a platform to find registered electricians in England and Wales qualified to inspect households.
Others - if somebody recommends an electrician, the landlord must ensure the electrician is competent and qualified.
How to Determine Electrician Qualifications
A landlord can ask and verify if the inspector is a member of a Competent Person Scheme. It is a way for electricians to self-certify that they inspect electrical components according to building regulations. While it is not compulsory, electricians know that it can boost their credibility.
A landlord can also require an inspector to sign a checklist that determines the following:
Why Landlords Should Only Hire Qualified, Accredited, and Insured Inspectors
Knowledge of EICR
Experienced electricians already know what must go in an EICR. Landlords and property owners need a report that all electrical installations are safe for continued use.
If that is not possible, the electrician must provide the following evaluation categories:
Code 1 (C1) - There is a present danger and risk of injury. Remedial work on electrical installation is necessary. Ideally, the electrical inspector will contain the hazards before leaving the property to keep it safe until remedial work is commissioned.
Code 2 (C2) - There is a potential danger, and remedial work must be done.
Further Investigation (FI) - Electrical installations must be immediately investigated further. Remedial work is not yet required.
Code 3 (C3) - The inspector recommends improvement, but remedial work is not required.
Accredited electricians have completed the necessary training and electrical-related education and are fit to complete the job.
Competent Person Scheme operators and registered electrical inspectors have also met industry standards to ensure electrical wirings are safe.
From a practical standpoint, paying between £95 and £300 for a report is easier on the wallet than paying a fine of £30,000 for not following government mandates.
It’s also better than facing the possible financial consequences of a fire or a lawsuit.
Find Qualified, Accredited, Insured Inspector Now
Obtain Electrical Services provides professional electrician and electrical testing for commercial & domestic property with a pool of skilled and licensed electricians. They provide EICR and do PAT testing and emergency light testing as well.
Here are the benefits of working with Obtain Electrical Services:
Same-Day Certificate Issuance
EICR and other important electrical-related reports will be issued by qualified electricians on the same day the inspection is finished. Safety should not be hasty, but our pool of licensed specialists can efficiently inspect without wasting time.
The EICR will be issued immediately in case the landlord needs it for a tenant who needs to move into the rental as soon as possible. This way, the rental business will not be interrupted, and the tenant will not be inconvenienced by waiting for the report for days.
Quality, Clean, Tidy Work
Obtain Electrical Services electricians go the extra mile and ensure they do clean work without leaving behind debris and trash after inspection and testing.
We are your one-stop shop for all your electrical needs, from installation to maintenance.
Our services include the following:
Emergency electrician service
Fire alarm testing and installation
Fuse board installation and maintenance
Installation of electric vehicle
No Surprise Fees
When you ask us for a quotation, we provide you with a full cost breakdown. We understand the importance of budgeting, so we will not surprise you with hidden fees once the job is done. What you see in our quote is all you will be paying for.
We provide free and no-obligations quotes, too. Just call us at 01803 36 20 56 or click here to inform us of the service you need. For more information, you may also email email@example.com or visit our website.
The Secretary of State. 2020. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations. Legislation.gov.uk
Electrical Safety First. May 2016. Fire Fact Sheet. https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/media/1592/fire-factsheet.pdf
The Institution of Engineering and Technology. 2022. BS 7671 - 18th Edition, The IET Wiring Regulations. https://electrical.theiet.org/bs-7671/
This Is Money. Dec. 22, 2021. Deadline Looms for Landlords to Run Safety Checks or Face a £30K Fine. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-9296337/Time-running-landlords-run-safety-checks-face-30k-fine.html
Electrical Safety First. 2022. How Much Does an EICR Cost and Whom Should I Use to Carry Out the Inspection? https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/your-questions-answered/questions/how-much-does-an-eicr-cost-and-who-should-i-use-to-carry-out-the-inspection/