Is the Electrical Installation in your rental property ready for the changes brought by the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations?
Landlords have time until the 1st of April this year to ensure their properties are tested, any remedial works carried out and the Electrical Installation Condition Report obtained and provided to the tenants.
In fact, the new regulations came into force on the 1st of June 2020 and already apply to all new tenancies that started on or after the 1st of July 2020. That said, it is important to understand that a fixed Tenancy Agreement that comes to an end and rolls into a periodic tenancy is considered as a new tenancy. If this applies to you, you need to take the necessary action straight away.
The deadline for EICR for all the other already existing Tenancies is approaching quickly, with the date set at the 1st of April 2021.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure you comply with the new regulations:
What are my responsibilities as a Landlord?
Ensure that your property is inspected by a competent and qualified electrician at least every 5 years
Ensure that any remedial works (if required) are carried out within 28 days (or earlier if advised) from the inspection
Provide the Electrical Safety Condition Report to your existing tenants within 28 days from the inspection OR prior to move in date if they are new tenants.
If requested provide the Electrical Safety Condition Report to Local Housing Authority within 7 days of the request being made.
Keep the copy of the certificate until the next inspection is due
How can I ensure that the Electrician is competent and qualified?
It is good practice to make sure the Electrician is trained to carry out the inspections and remedial works, if required. Government approved accreditation service NAPIT can help you to check whether your Electrician has got all the necessary qualifications. Here is the link to the website: https://search.napit.org.uk/
If I don’t provide the Report to my Tenant before the Tenancy Start date, will that prevent me from serving Section 21 notice?
No, at least in the present day. Failure to provide the report prior the tenancy start date does not prevent Section 21 notice from being served.
Do I need to get a new certificate every time that a new Tenant moves in?
You are required to obtain a certificate every 5 years (unless there are some visible damages to the electrical installation). If there have not been any significant changes to the property structure, damages etc., you do not have to get a new certificate with every tenant change.
What are the consequences if I don’t obtain and provide the Electrical Installation Condition Report?
If you fail to obtain a satisfactory Condition Report or you don’t carry out the remedial works within given timeframe, then the local housing authority may serve a remedial notice, giving the Landlord 28 days to take the required action. After that time, if the Landlord fails to undertake the remedial works, the local housing authority can arrange for an authorised person to carry out the works (subject to agreement by the Tenant). The local authority can recover reasonable cost of the repairs from the Landlord. They can also impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
What do the tests cover?
The tests cover all fixed electrical parts of the property - wiring, sockets, light fittings, consumer units, protective bonding, extractor fans, electric showers. The test will show the following:
If any electrical installations are overloaded
If there are any potential risks of electric shocks and fire hazards
If there are any defective electrical works and/or lack of earthing or bonding.
The test does not cover any electrical appliances. If you require to test your appliances you would need to request a PAT (Portable Appliances Test)
Understanding the Report
After the inspection is carried out, the Electrician will provide you with a report. The document should be always issued, regardless of the outcome. If the report is satisfactory, then there is no more action to be taken by the Landlord, other than providing the copy of the document to all interested parties. There are 4 class codes that you may see on the report, which will indicate the further actions:
C1 - danger present, risk of injury - unsatisfactory result
C2 - Potentially dangerous - unsatisfactory result
FI - Further investigation required, without delay - unsatisfactory result
C3 - Improvement recommended - further works are recommended but not required - satisfactory result
Are there any exemptions from EICR?
There are a few exemptions from EICR, that include Social Housing, Lodgers, Tenants on a long lease of 7 years or more, student halls of residence, care homes and any other accommodation relating to healthcare provision. If your property falls in any of these categories, you do not need to obtain an EICR, however you should always ensure that the electrical installation is safe.
Do I need to get a new EICR if I already have the report that is less than 5 years old?
Not necessarily. It is a good practice to review the report in order to see if there were any recommendations. If big differences to the property have occurred, e.g. high turnover of tenants, DIY work found, flood damage, then it would be advisable to get another electrical safety report done. If no changes have been made, then your report will remain valid until the next inspection date.
Does my electrical installation need to comply with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations?
No, if it’s considered as safe. If the existing installation has been installed in accordance to the earlier editions, it may mean that the installation may not comply entirely with the 18th edition, however it does not mean that the installation is unsafe. Any differences would be marked on the report as “recommendations”, which may point out works that are recommended, but not required.
Do the new regulations apply to HMO properties?
Yes. These regulations replace previous legislation in regards to electrical safety in HMO properties.
There is still a bit of time to ensure your property meets the new requirements. Do not wait till the last minute though, especially if you will have to carry out some remedial works. Allow yourself time to find the right electrician, who can put the things in the right order in your rental property.