The Ultimate EICR or Electrical Safety Standards Guide for Landlords

When it comes to the safety of your tenants, you, as a landlord, need to be proactive. You do so by making sure that the electrical installations at your property are safe.

This guide sheds light on what you need to know about London EICR testing.

EICR: What Should You Know?

Every landlord must obtain an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) after having their electrical installations inspected and tested by a qualified person every 5 years. This report ensures that the rental property is safe and sound for tenants to reside in. EICR is often referred to as ‘fixed wire testing’.

What about a leasehold property?

Generally, the terms of the lease define who needs to arrange the report. Otherwise, it is the responsibility of the leaseholder to carry out the EICR.

Which properties do the Electrical Safety Regulations apply to?

The regulations are applicable in cases where a tenant carries the right to occupy a property as their only residence and pays rent. There are exceptions that include social housing, student halls of residence, lodgers, hostels, care homes, refuges, those on a long lease, hospitals and hospices, and other healthcare properties.

What is the current law for landlords?

For landlords and anyone who owns a rental property, the laws in England has been changed in April 2021. According to the new law, all rental properties must have a valid EICR carried out in accordance with the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’.

Landlords must ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. They must also obtain a supply a copy of an EICR to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection.

Is the law applicable to landlords residing in Scotland?

The law is a little different in Scotland. Electrical Safety Inspection in Scotland takes place every 5 years and every 3 years for HMOs.

In EICR inspection, fixtures and fittings such as light switches, visible wiring, light fittings, sockets, and more need to be checked. Landlords must provide proof that electrical testing has been done on all appliances.

What about the landlords in Wales or Northern Ireland?

For now, the law does not apply to properties in Wales. However, it is possible for the law to be active in the upcoming times.

What should a live-in landlord do?

Landlords who live in the property with their tenants do not need to arrange an EICR, according to the law. While it is not mandatory, landlords may need to take measures to keep the residing people safe from fire injuries and shocks.

Exclusions, if any?

Mandatory EICR inspection is not needed for:

  • Rentals where the occupier lives with the landlord’s family
  • Student halls of residences
  • Care homes
  • Hotels
  • Refuges
  • Hospitals and hospices
  • Registered social housing providers
  • Buildings for short-term rentals
  • Long leases of 7 years and more

While EICR inspections are not mandatory in these cases, landlords should still be proactive about keeping their tenants safe.

What is the significance of the law?

Not all landlords care for their tenants and take measures to ensure they are safe. While a majority of landlords are aware of the importance of keeping their tenants’ lives safe, some do not care much.

The law is to protect those tenants and ensure peace of mind for property owners at the same time. Thanks to the law, now it is possible to ensure the safety of tenants while ensuring high-quality housing for every tenant.

Do you have to obtain an EICR if it is a new build property?

For properties that are newly built or have been entirely rewired, landlords will receive an Electrical Installation Certificate or EIC. You should provide a copy of the certificate to your current tenants, and your local council (if needed).

If this is done, you will not need to arrange for any inspections for at least five years after the date the certificate was issued.

N.B: If the EIC is only for partial rewiring, you will still need an EICR.

Are you purchasing a buy-to-let property?

If you are purchasing a buy-to-let property (either a new build or an existing one), there is no need for an EICR.

You may ask the seller if they have an EICR certificate for the property. You can also obtain one if you want to have a look at the property’s current electrical installation.

What about a property where no one is living?

Landlords need to obtain an EICR even if the property is vacant. By doing so, you ensure your property is safe for residents.

What is tested during the inspection?

A competent and qualified person will have to do the inspection of the fixed electrical parts of a property. They include:

  • Consumer unit containing all the fuses, circuit-breakers, residual current devices
  • Accessories including sockets, light fittings, and switches
  • Cabling that is hidden in the ceilings and walls

How to prepare for the inspection?

In case there are tenants in your property, ask them to leave with as much notice as possible. Sometimes, inspections need to be done when the power is off.

Also, you will need to make sure that the electrician has access to as much property as possible. This is to ensure the report has every detail covered.

What happens if the report is unsatisfactory?

In that case, you will have to carry out remedial work and that too within 28 days or during the time mentioned in the report. Make sure you provide written confirmation to your tenant and the council within 28 days of the remedial work.