Electrical safety certificates were traditionally only required for landlords letting rooms in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
But since July 1, 2020, Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) have been added to the swathes of legislation all landlords in England must comply with. But what are the rules on electrical safety as a landlord and how are they changing in 2021?
We answer those questions and much more below…
Do landlords need an electrical safety certificate?
Electrical safety certificates carry the official title of Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) and if you’re renting out a property in England, you need to know about them. Since July 1, 2020, a valid EICR is required for all new tenancies.
The report must also be passed on to your tenant within 28 days of the inspection being carried out.
If the report comes back and work is needed to bring your property’s electrics up to standard, this must be done within 28 days – or sooner if the report dictates.
Electrical safety certificates: New rules for landlords
From April 1, 2021, Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) will be required for all tenancies in England, regardless of when they started.
What do landlords need to do before April 1?
If you have tenants in your rental property and their agreement started after July 1, 2020, you should already have had an EICR carried out and passed a copy of the report to them. If your tenants started their tenancy agreement before July 1, 2020, you’ll need to have an EICR carried out before April 1, 2021 and ensure any work required is completed within the timeframe stipulated.
Even if no work is needed, you still need to give your tenants a copy of the report within 28 days. Your local authority may also request a copy within the same timeframe.
What are the consequences for not obtaining an electrical safety certificate?
Having no valid EICR in place for your rental property is a serious matter and you could be fined up to £30,000.
Your local authority can also step in and arrange remedial action if you fail to carry out work or repairs recommended in your EICR within 28 days, or sooner if the report deems the improvements more urgent.
What is checked during an EICR?
You must use a qualified electrician to undertake an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
When performing an EICR, your electrician will check:
• Your fuse boards
• All switches, sockets, and electrical fixtures, including light fittings
• Polarity of installations
• All protective devices
Your electrician will ‘grade’ your electrical installations either ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ using a series of codes and will recommend or dictate that improvements are made where needed. The codes they use are:
C1 – Danger, risk or injury, immediate action required
C2 – Potential danger, urgent remedial action required
F1 – Further investigation required
C3 – Improvement recommended
Portable Appliance Tests (PAT) are not a legal requirement for single-tenancy rental properties in England, but are highly recommended. PAT tests, however, are mandatory for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). PAT testing must be carried out on all appliances supplied by you as part of your HMO tenancies and while the tests aren’t a legal requirement for single tenancy landlords, they are considered ‘best practice’.
How often do I need to have an EICR carried out?
Your Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is valid for five years from the date it was carried out.
Landlords must have a new EICR carried out every five years to remain compliant.
What qualifications should my electrician have when carrying out an EICR?
Your electrician must be a qualified professional to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in your rental property.
They should have:
• A qualification covering current BS 7671 wiring regulations
• A relevant City & Guilds qualification for testing and inspecting electrical installations
• A qualification covering periodic inspection and testing of electrical installations
• At least two years’ experience of carrying out EICRs
• Adequate public liability and professional indemnity insurance
How much does an electrical safety certificate cost?
The cost of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will depend on the size and age of your rental property, as well as the extent of inspection and any remedial work required.
Landlord electrical safety rules in Scotland and Wales
Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) have been mandatory for all tenancies in Scotland since December 1, 2016.
Like in England, Scottish EICRs are valid for five years and must be renewed when they expire. Unlike in England, however, EICRs in Scotland must also include Portable Appliance Tests (PAT) for all electrical appliances that are supplied by the landlord.
In Wales, EICRs aren’t currently mandatory for non-HMOs but this could change in the future.
HMOs in Wales must have a valid EICR carried out every five years, as is required in England.
A host of regulation and legislation changes are set to come into force in 2021 – but it’s not just landlords who need to know about them.