New EICR Rules – Electrical Checks Become Mandatory
As per the new EICR rules, from 1st July 2020 onwards, landlords in England are required to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) before letting their properties to new tenants.
From 1st April 2021, the rule will apply to all existing tenancies in England. This implies that landlords are obligated to make their properties safe for tenants to use by maintaining and repairing their electrical installations.
Earlier, it was not compulsory to carry out such electrical checks in England. These rules have come into effect, considering that faulty electrical wiring and devices are the most common causes of fires in England.
By regular inspections, faults in the appliances or wiring can be unearthed, like any device consuming excess current, insufficient earthing, or damaged wires. These checks will enable landlords to take corrective measures and maintain the safety of the electrical equipment.
It will help to prevent damage to property and financial losses, as well as prevent injuries to the house inmates. The electrical safety certificate aims to make properties safe for both tenants and landlords.
New Rules to be Observed by Landlords
Here are some new rules which must be duly obliged by all the landlords across England:
- Get a qualified electrician to conduct an electrical inspection that covers all wiring and devices
- Get an electrical safety certificate that contains the test details along with the next inspection date
- Landlords passing the tests can retain the certificate for five years, and when it expires, they will need to get a new one
- The landlord has to hand over a copy of the certificate to the existing tenant within 28 days following the inspection
- He should provide a copy to a new tenant before the occupation
- He should keep a copy with himself so that he can provide the local authority within seven days of the request
- Keep ready a copy to be given to the next engineer who comes to inspect and renew the certificate
- If a prospective tenant requests a copy of the certificate, he must be given within 28 days of the written request
What will the engineer check?
The engineer will check the fixed electrical components of the property, including the wiring, plug sockets, light fixtures, and the fuse box. Permanently installed electrical devices will also be inspected.
Points to Remember While Assigning an Inspection
- You should verify if the inspector is a member of a competent person scheme
- Ask the engineer to sign a checklist, which state his experience, insurance details, and qualification meeting the latest Wiring regulations
What will the engineer look for?
The engineer conducting the inspection will locate the following:
- Any overloaded electrical installations
- Any faulty electrical work
- He will see if there is proper earthing or bonding
- Potential dangers of electrical shocks or fire
What will be displayed in the electrical installation condition report?
If there are no repairs needed, the landlord is not required to take any corrective steps. If remedial action is needed, the report will contain the following classification codes:
- Code1 (C1): It indicates danger or risk of injury
- Code 2 (C2): It signifies potentially hazardous
- Further investigations (F1): It indicates that further probing is required urgently
- Code 3 (C3): It means no additional work is needed, but improvement is recommended
In the case of codes C1 and C2, corrective steps are required, and the electrical installations are not deemed suitable for continuous use
In the case of F1, further probing is needed and the landlord must carry on the actions required
For C3, no corrective steps are required, but the landlord could make some improvements to enhance the safety of his electrical installations.
What the local authorities are empowered to do
- When demanded by local authorities, the tenant must provide a copy of the electrical safety certificate
- If urgent repairs are required, the local authorities send a notice. The landlord is required to complete the repairs within 28 days
- In case the landlord does not carry out the repairs, the local authorities can enter the property, conduct the repairs, and demand compensation for repairs from the landlord
- If the landlord fails to comply, and if the local authorities have the required proof, they can impose a penalty up to £30,000. They can increase the fine if more violations occur
Implications of not having an electrical installation condition report
Landlords failing to get an electrical installation condition report from 1st July 2020 onwards will have to pay a fine of up to £30,000. These rules, laid down by the Housing Act, 2004, will be implemented by local authorities.
Landlords are also obligated to carry out remedial measures based on the report’s recommendations. They are given 28 days to carry out the corrective action, and if more urgent, even earlier.
The objective of the new EICR rules is to make all rented properties safe for tenants and minimize the risk of fires and damage to human life and property.
It is in the best interests of landlords to get an electrical safety certificate every five years. It will also help landlords avoid any legal disputes with tenants following accidents or damage due to fires. It will ensure safety and peace of mind for both tenants and landlords.