Landlord electrical safety certificates – the law is changing

If you own a rental property in England, did you know that the law is changing in April 2021?

From 1 April 2021, you will need a landlord electrical safety certificate (also known as an EICR certificate) for your property if you don’t already have one.

Join us as we take a look at the proposed changes to the law, and how you can get an electrical safety certificate in place for your property.

Landlord electrical safety certificate image

What is a landlord electrical safety certificate?

A landlord electrical safety certificate is when an electrician, engineer or other ‘competent person’ tests the electrical installations in a rental property to make sure they are working as they should.

By electrical installations, we mean things like:

  • Light fittings
  • Wiring
  • Fuse boxes
  • Plug sockets.

These can deteriorate and break over time, making them more susceptible to electric shocks and causing fires.

How is the law changing?

The law initially changed in July 2020. Any tenancy created or renewed after this time had to have a valid landlord electrical safety certificate in place.

On 1 April 2021, the law will change again. All rental properties will have to have a certificate in place by this date.

For example, let’s say you have a tenant in your property who has been there for the past two years. You were exempt from having to arrange a certificate last year as you already had someone living there. However, by April 2021 you will need to have a certificate in place.

Once you have a valid landlord electrical safety certificate in place, you must renew it every five years. It’s also recommended that you get one carried out if there is a change of occupancy. 

If you do not have a certificate in place, you could be liable for fines of up to £30,000.

Read The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

The rules for new properties

If you buy a property that has been newly built or rewired, you do not have to get an electrical safety certificate. The Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) you were given can be used in place of an electrical safety certificate for five years.

So if you buy a new buy-to-let and the EIC was signed in November 2020, you do not have to get an electrical safety certificate until November 2025.

How do I get a landlord’s electrical safety certificate?

To get a landlord’s electrical safety certificate, you need to arrange for a ‘competent’ person like an engineer to come and inspect your electrical installations. The engineer will visually inspect your installations for damage, and run electrical currents through them to check they work safety.

The engineer will need to turn off the electricity to carry out the inspection, so bear this in mind if you have tenants already in your property.

The engineer will then provide you with a report and let you know if the inspection was ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’. If it’s unsatisfactory, you need to get any faulty installations repaired and retested within 28 days.

EICR flowchart
 
You can then give your tenant a copy of the report for their records, and provide a copy to your local council or insurance company if they ask for one.

More information about electrical safety certificates for landlords.

If you are looking for a reliable, high-quality and professional company to carry out your electrical safety certificate inspection, Hawkesworth is here to help.

We have experience with working with landlords across the country. Whether you have one property you need testing or an entire portfolio; we can help to keep you compliant.