If you own a property, holiday rental or Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO), there are laws in place to help ensure the safety of your tenants.
This guide will help you to understand your responsibilities and answer any questions you have.
What is an EICR?
EICR is short for ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’. This is when a ‘competent person’ tests electrical installations like light fittings, plug sockets and wiring to make sure they are safe and that there is no risk of electric shock or fire hazards.
EICR is sometimes referred to as ‘fixed wire testing’ or a ‘landlord’s electrical safety certificate’.
The current law for landlords
The laws in England for landlords and anyone who owns a rental property changed in July 2020.
Any new tenancy you create or renew after 1 July 2020 requires a valid EICR, carried out in line with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations.
If you already have tenants in your property, you have to carry out an EICR before April 2021.
If you had an EICR carried out before the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations came into force (2019) you may want to check with the company that carried out the report that it is still valid and compliant.
Does this law apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
As of 2015, Scottish rental properties must have EICR inspections every five years in line with the Housing (Scotland) Act. There is more information about your specific rights and responsibilities on the Housing and Property Chamber website.
The law doesn’t apply in Wales and Northern Ireland, but we would recommend carrying out an EICR to keep your tenants safe.
Why is this law in place?
The majority of landlords are invested in the safety of their tenants and want to make sure they can use electrical appliances in their home with complete confidence.
However, there are a handful of landlords who are not interested in the welfare of their tenants.
This law helps to ensure the safety of tenants wherever they live and ensures the private rented sector offers high-quality and safe housing to everyone.
How often must an EICR take place?
An EICR must take place in a rental property every five years.
If there is a change of occupancy, we recommend carrying out an EICR to check nothing has been damaged or tampered with during the previous tenancy.
Do I have to get an EICR if the home is a new build?
If your property has been newly built or is rewired, you will be given an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC).
If you provide a copy of this EIC to your tenant, as well as your local council if requested, you will not need to carry out any further inspections for five years after the date the EIC was issued.
What happens during the EICR inspection?
A qualified electrician will inspect the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property like the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box. If they can make any hazards safe during the inspection, they will do so.
The test only covers fixed electrics, not appliances like cookers, fridges or televisions. If you want these checking, this needs to be done separately through a PAT test.
What happens after the test?
Once the test takes place, you will receive a copy of the EICR report. The following classification codes show if additional work is needed:
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required immediately
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. You do not need to get this fixed to pass the EICR, but it is advised you fix it in due course
You must give tenants a copy of the EICR report before they occupy the property, and if the EICR is renewed you must give them a copy of the report within 28 days of the inspection taking place.
If your local council asks for a copy of the report, you must provide them with one within seven days.
If the report shows C1, C2 or FI work needs to be done, you must complete this work within 28 days, or during the timescale specified in the report, and then provide written confirmation to your tenant and your council within 28 days of the work being completed.
What are the penalties?
If your local council believes you are in breach of these regulations, they can serve a notice out on you. If the work is not carried out, your council may carry out the works itself and recover the costs from you.
In extreme situations, your council can enforce a civil penalty of up to £30,000.
What if my tenant won’t cooperate?
If you have shown you have taken reasonable steps to follow the regulations (for example, your tenant won’t let you in to carry out an inspection) then you will not be in breach of the regulations.
If you need someone to carry out an EICR for your property, Hawkesworth can help. We are one of the leading EICR providers across the UK and Ireland.
We have experience of working with landlords across the country, so whether you have one home you lease out or an entire portfolio of properties, we have you covered.