If you own a property 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?
- Who is responsible for an EICR?
- The current law for landlords
- Does this law apply to landlords with properties in Scotland?
- Does this law apply to landlords with properties in Wales or Northern Ireland?
- Why is this law in place?
- How often must an EICR take place?
- Do I have to get an EICR if the home is a new build or I have an EIC?
- What happens during the EICR inspection?
- What happens after the test?
- What happens if my property fails its inspection?
- What are the penalties?
- What if my tenant won't cooperate?
- Can a tenant move in if there are C1 or C2 faults that need fixing?
- Are there other health and safety measures I need to take?
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, fuse boxes 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’.
Who is responsible for an EICR?
The landlord who owns the property is responsible for an EICR and ensuring that the rental property is safe for tenants to live in.
The current law for landlords
The laws in England for private landlords and anyone who owns a rental property changed in April 2021.
All rental properties now have to have a valid EICR in place, carried out in line with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations.
Does this law apply to landlords with rental properties in Scotland?
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.
Does this law apply to landlords with rental properties in Wales or Northern Ireland?
The law doesn’t apply in Wales and Northern Ireland. However, we would still 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 or I have an EIC?
If your property has been newly built or is has been completely 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.
Bear in mind that if your EIC is only for a partial rewire, you will get an EIC, but will still need an EICR.
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.
The electricity will have to be turned off for the test to take place, so you will need to bear this in mind if there are already tenants in the property.
What happens after the test?
Once the test takes place, you will receive a copy of the EICR report. The report will advise if the inspection was 'satisfactory' or 'unsatisfactory'.
The following classification codes show if additional work is needed:
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required. These installations must be made safe as soon as possible
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous - urgent remedial action required. These installations must also be made safe as soon as possible
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay. This usually means that the inspector will need to return to investigate the issue further, and will determine whether it is safe or unsafe
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. You do not need to get this fixed, but it is recommended you do. Think of this as like an 'advisory note' on an MOT
If the inspection was satisfactory, then no further work is needed.
If the inspection was unsatisfactory, this means that C1 or C2 work needs to be done, or FI codes need to be looked at in more detail.
What happens if my property fails its inspection?
If your inspection is unsatisfactory, you must carry out remedial work.
You must complete this work within 28 days, or during the timescale specified in the report. After this, you need to 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.
Local authorities can fine up to £5,000 for a first offence and a civil penalty of up to £30,000 if you don't comply.
What if my tenant won’t cooperate?
If you have shown you have taken reasonable steps to follow the regulations then you will not be in breach of the regulations.
Can my tenant move into a property if there are C1 or C2 faults that need fixing?
If there are faults that need fixing, remedial works must be carried out within 28 days (or the timescale specified during the report). Ideally, the faults should be repaired as soon as possible.
If the property is vacant, any C1 or C2 faults must be repaired before a tenant moves in.
Are there other health and safety measures I need to take in my property?
If you own properties in Scotland or an HMO in England or Wales, you also must get electrical equipment testing (also known as PAT testing) carried out too. Otherwise you do not have to get electrical equipment testing done, but it can be a good way of showing your tenants you are keeping them safe.
You also need to get fire risk assessments carried out to identify potential fire risks and changes that need to be made to ensure tenants can safely leave the building in an emergency.
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 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.