Electrical safety within rental properties had been largely overlooked by specific legislation, instead relying on a landlord’s general duty of care towards tenants to ensure they were safe. Now though, legislation requires the electrics in all rental properties in England to be checked and certified by a qualified and competent person i.e. a registered electrician.
For landlords this means having an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) in place for their property, which remains valid for five years (unless the electrician advises it needs checking again sooner).
Much like gas safety certificates (which are required annually), the certificate must now be provided to tenants before they occupy a property and be kept on file by the landlord. Should the local authority request a copy of the EICR it must be provided to them within seven days, whilst any renewal of the certificate should be issued to the current tenants within 28 days.
I’m pleased to say that all the properties managed by CRJ Lettings got these checks and certificates in place before the (1st April 2021) deadline. Despite the ongoing pandemic and lockdown restrictions in place for much of the year prior to the deadline, there has been no extension or grace-period granted by the government. If you’re reading this and have a rental property without a valid EICR, you now risk a fine of £30,000!
I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly the majority of our electrical checks went. Such are the increasingly stringent safety requirements for electrics within a home, I had expected every property (bar a brand new one) to receive a certificate raising some ‘observations’.
Whilst technically that’s true (as many of the certificates still contain C3 ‘advisory’ observations), the majority of properties escaped having any of the more serious ‘action-required’ C1 & C2 faults that couldn’t simply be resolved by the electrician at the point of testing.
In fact, one in five properties required no remedial works whatsoever. Three in five fell within the camp of the electrician dealing with matters at the time of testing, with the cost to remedy averaging around £70 per property. The final one in five properties did require a second appointment for more intensive works, the most expensive of which resulted in a £400 bill.
Not unsurprisingly, older properties raised more issues compared to newer homes. Having said that, there were a couple of modern houses that had clearly had some ‘DIY’ electrical work carried out, which fell short of the necessary safety standards.
So, whilst this new legislation is yet another cost landlords’ need to endure before they can rent their property, remember that the inspection and any remedial works will ensure your property is safe! And if that doesn’t convince you to abide by the new requirements, remember there’s a government in need of money who have forewarned landlords of the £30,000 fine for non-compliance.