Landlord Electrical Safety Regulations / Certificates (England & Wales)

Landlord Electrical Safety Regulations For Rentals In England & Wales

Ahh, it must be time to discuss a shiny new incoming regulation, because the eager-beavers are blowing up my inbox, thirsty for my unqualified thoughts on the matter.

In this blog post I’m going to attempt to cover a general overview of electrical safety for landlords in England & Wales, which includes the new ‘Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020’ (i.e. the requirement of a electrical safety certificate) but also other existing regulations covering electrical safety that you should be paying attention to.

The good news is, the latest update is super simple to understand and will improve safety, the bad news is… it’s going to cost you where it hurts. Thank God we’re not in the middle of a global economic meltdown, whereby tenants are not being encouraged to avoid paying rent and/or isolating, otherwise this could have been catastrophic timing to splurge.

Right, so hold onto your knickers, this is going to be crazy fun.

Before we kick off, please note that I’m going to write this blog post from the perspective that the new regulation has already come into play, because that will save me from having to jump back into this gigantic snooze-fest to make the necessary updates when the 1st of July rolls around (the date of which many will need to act by).

Oh, and of course, the obligatory legal disclaimer: I’m not a legal professional in any shape or form, I’m just sharing my opinion on a matter relevant to my biz! You should definitely seek independent advice from a qualified professional to ensure you meet your landlord obligations!

Ok, here we go…

Gosh, this is going to be utterly horrible.

Table of contents:

Do landlords need an Electrical Safety Certificate/Report?

HMOs in England & Wales have required electrical safety certificates for as long as I can remember. You’ll almost certainly need one if you have an HMO rental property (but I won’t be covering electrical safety in HMOs specifically in this blog post).

And now, since 1st July 2020, private residential landlords of even single-let properties in England also require the same electrical safety certificates. For now, landlords in Wales have been spared – they’re not legally required to acquire one for their single-let rental properties.

Electrical Safety Regulations For Landlords in England (Overview)

Under Common Law and various statutory regulations there is an obligation for landlords to ensure that all electrical instalments and provided appliances in private rented accommodation is in safe working order, which are covered in the following regulations:

Mandatory Electrical Safety Certificate/Report & Inspection for Landlords

With the introduction of the new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, landlords need to ensure the ‘fixed’ electrical installations in their rented properties are routinely inspected and tested. This will require a ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’ (EICR) provided by a qualified and competent person.

So, listen. I’m going to avoid diving into the nitty-gritty of this new regulation, but I will try and provide you with an overview of the need-to-knows, and then if you’re still clamouring for further knowledge (cause, why wouldn’t you?), you can indulge by reading the official Gov Guidelines on the new regulation. To be honest, most of the information about the reg update will be copy/pasted from there anyways, because surprisingly – and believe me, I’m rather shocked by ut – they seem to have broken the mould by providing a pretty clear and concise guide.

Anyways…

To reiterate, this regulation ensures safety checks of only ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket-outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the fuse box. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors.

To comply with the regulation, landlords of privately rented accommodation must ensure the following:

  • National standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
  • To have your rental property inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years. Most qualified electricians will offer a EICR service.
  • To obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
  • To supply a copy of the report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
  • To supply a copy of the report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
  • To supply a copy of the report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
  • If requested, to supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days.
  • To retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
  • To supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

This regulation will apply to all tenancies whereby a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or main residence and pays rent. It also applies to HMOs in England, which means it replaces the electrical safety duties specified in the ‘The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006

However, it’s also worth noting that HMOs require licenses from the local council, and they still have the power to add other conditions to your licence, which may include more safety requirements specific to electricity.

The regulation does NOT apply to the following:

  • Social housing
  • Lodgers
  • those on a long lease of 7 years or more
  • student halls of residence
  • hostels and refuges
  • care homes
  • hospitals and hospices, and other accommodation relating to healthcare provisions.

Definition of “qualified and competent person”

According to the Gov guidelines:

When commissioning an inspection, in order to establish if a person is qualified and competent landlords can:

  • check if the inspector is a member of a competent person scheme; or
  • require the inspector to sign a checklist certifying their competence, including their experience, whether they have adequate insurance and hold a qualification covering the current version of the Wiring Regulations and the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations.

Certainly not particularly clear or useful.

Either way, I’d always use a qualified and reputable electrician, because ultimately, the burden will fall on the landlord if things go south.

Key dates / when the regulation will apply

  • Apply to all new tenancies in England from 1st July 2020
  • Apply to all existing tenancies in England from 1st April 2021

Yes, that’s right, if you plan on signing a new tenancy with new or existing tenants from 1st of July, you’ll need to bag yourself an EICR.

If you already have an EICR

If you already have an EICR which was conducted less than 5 years ago, it will be considered valid until the 5 years has expired.

Periodic/rolling contracts…

Someone on Twitter asked me about how this regulation impacts periodic tenancies (Shout out to a Ms Fiona!).

Whether or not a ‘periodic’ tenancy is a new tenancy, will depend on the type of tenancy issued:

  • For ‘contractual periodic tenancies‘ – this is where it is written in the original tenancy agreement that on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy will become periodic – the periodic tenancy will be part of the same tenancy and no new tenancy will be created.
  • For ‘statutory periodic tenancies‘ – this is where on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy rolls over into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute (rather than by contract) – the periodic tenancy will be a new tenancy.

Essentially, if you have a ‘statutory periodic tenancy’, the new regulation will apply and you will need a report by 1st July 2020. If the fixed-term expires between July 2020 and April 2021, you will be required to get a report.

Many tenancy agreements do actually state that the tenancy will become periodic if a new contract is not signed after the fixed term, so they will be ‘contractual’. For example, my tenancy agreement has the following clause:

14.2 If the Tenant stays in the Property after the Tenancy has expired then a statutory periodic tenancy shall arise.

I recommend checking your tenancy agreement to unearth the reality.

Where you can get a Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)/Inspection

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) Example

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) Example

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a formal document that is produced following an assessment of the electrical installation within a property. They’re also commonly referred to as “Electrical Safety Certificates” (I’ve been switching between the two in this blog post, just to confuse you). They must be carried out by an experienced qualified electrician or approved contractor.

Your local electrician should be able to assist with an inspection/report.

Alternatively, these online suppliers make it easy…

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) Suppliers
SupplierPriceNotes / Includes
Price
£159*Inc VAT
Notes / Includes

  • Engineer compliant to carry out work in accordance with UK law
  • Testing fuses & circuit breakers
  • Fault find & diagnostics
  • Required every 5 years as of July 2020
  • * +£10 per bedroom
More Info
Price
£209*Inc VAT
Notes / Includes

  • Fully accredited engineers
  • Part P building requirements
  • Fault find & diagnostics
  • Required every 5 years as of July 2020
  • * £159 if property inside M25
  • * +£10 per bedroom
More Info
Price
£225*Inc VAT
Notes / Includes

  • Engineer compliant to carry out work in accordance with UK law
  • Testing fuses & circuit breakers
  • Fault find & diagnostics
  • Required every 5 years as of July 2020
  • * unlimited number of rooms
More Info

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Landlords are legally obligated to ensure all appliances provided with the rental property are in safe working order, and the best way to ensure that is by getting a PAT by a qualified electrical engineer.

You can book a Portable Appliance Test (PAT test) carried out by a nationwide electrical engineer to ensure that your electrical appliances are safe to use.

SupplierPriceNotes / Includes
Price
£129Inc VAT
Notes / Includes

  • Appliances safety checked
  • Up to 10 Electrical Appliances included
  • Visual inspection & earth test
  • Replace plug tops & fuses
  • Recommended every 12 months
  • * £89 if property inside M25
More Info

How much should you pay for an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?

I’m going to base this on my personal experience and the comments left from other landlords below.

To give you some context, I’ve had a couple of inspections done for 2 bedroom properties that are located on the outskirts of North London. They cost me £220 each. My electrician told me that the rule of thumb is £30 per consumer unit + £30 per circuit, and a standard 2 bedroom property should cost approx £200 (that doesn’t include any remedial work).

Comment #213, Danny said the following:

Just had 4 EICRs done for 1 x 2 bed cottage (1 consumer unit), 1x 3 bed cottage (1 CSU), 1 x 3 bed cottage (2 CSUs) and 1 x 5 bed farmhouse with 3 CSUs. Total cost was £880 or £220 per unit average.

This was in Cornwall, on the coast, near Rock/Polzeath where tradesmen are pricey.

I got several quotes and the £220 average was well above other prices quoted. Went with the chosen sparky because he seemed the most competent, not the cheapest.

Unsurprisingly, many electricians have started ballooning their prices due to the surge in demand for the reports. MotherF*&%&*^%’s

Comment #211 from PB Smith:

Wish I had seen your blog in advance having just been charged £430 for certification of 3 bed mid terrace in Middlesex.

Ahh, thanks commenter #211. Appreciate it! And yes, you should have found me sooner. But we’re together now.

I’ve also heard of some landlords being lured in with compelling inspection prices, but then getting their pants pulled down with remedial work costs! So please be careful.

To clarify, I’m only sharing this information to give you an idea of how much I and others have paid so you have a point of reference. I’m not trying to set any standards or imply that I have found the best or worst deals. I’m sure prices will vary based on location alone.

Tips provided by an electrician (he claims to be a bloody good one, so make of that what you will):

  • Cheap inspections (e.g. anything less than £150 in the coffers of the electrical contractor, after VAT and any agency fees) could lead to inflated remedial costs. I’ve seen loads of reports classing perfectly adequate installations as “potentially dangerous” or even “immediately dangerous” when they are no such thing, along with a juicy quote for rectifying it. A perfect example of this is plastic consumer units; compliant at the time of installation, but now noted down as dangerous when they simply aren’t (they can be if there is evidence of burning etc).
  • Cheap inspections can also be a problem because for £80 or so, Dodgy Dave is simply not going to do the job properly. Testing takes time and diligence, but for this kind of money, the electrician is likely to make up test results, rather than inspect accessories carefully. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. 9 times out of 10, £80 reports aren’t worth the paper it is written on.
  • Registration with a competent person scheme (NICEIC for example) doesn’t guarantee good practice; while it is a step in the right direction if a firm is registered, there are plenty of contractors out there who use their registration as a cover for bashing out shoddy work.
  • The take-home is, get a good and reliable electrician or firm who looks after you and your best interests; build a working relationship with them and be able to trust each other. If you don’t already have one, word of mouth recommendation beats every other avenue hands down.

As always, you should do your own due diligence and decide what’s best for you and your circumstances.

What the electrical inspection involves

  • Electrical installations are overloaded
  • Checks for any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • Checks for defective electrical work
  • Checks for a lack of earthing or bonding – these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations.

The regulations do not currently require electrical appliances to be tested, only the ‘fixed’ electrical installations.

What if the electrical safety test fails?

If the report shows that remedial work or further investigation is required, landlords must complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report. Landlords must then provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant.

EICR Acknowledgement Form

I’ve added an ‘EICR acknowledgement Form’ to my arsenal of acknowledgement forms (all available from here), because the regulation requires landlords to supply a copy to tenants. In order to protect myself, I’m going to make my tenants sign the form, which confirms that they have been provided with a copy.

It’s not that I don’t trust people, it’s just that I don’t trust people.









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Electrical appliances safety / PAT testing in Rentals

Portable Appliance Testing (commonly known as ‘PAT’, ‘PAT Inspection’ or ‘PAT Testing’) is a process in which portable electrical appliances (as opposed to ‘fixed’) are checked for safety, which includes kettles, fridges, dishwashers and washing machines.

While landlords are responsible for ensuring all electrical appliances supplied with the property are in safe working order throughout the tenancy, there is currently no legal requirement for single-let landlords in England to conduct any specific reports or tests on appliances.

Perhaps the most effective way to help ensure electrical safety requirements have been met, is by either providing brand new appliances at the start of a tenancy (which isn’t practical or economical for most cases) or conducting routine PAT tests. PAT testing is recommended every time a tenancy ends and before renting to new tenants, but honestly, I don’t believe most landlords do this (although, I’m not saying sidestepping the process is the wisest decision).

PAT testing isn’t particularly expensive (you can expect to pay about £50 – £80, which includes the testing of about 10-20 appliances), and they’re recommended if you provide electric appliances with your property. As with EICRs, you should be able contact your local qualified electrician to arrange a PAT test, or…

SupplierPriceNotes / Includes
Price
£129Inc VAT
Notes / Includes

  • Appliances safety checked
  • Up to 10 Electrical Appliances included
  • Visual inspection & earth test
  • Replace plug tops & fuses
  • Recommended every 12 months
  • * £89 if property inside M25
More Info

General electrical safety measures

Landlords are advised to make regular visual inspections (i.e. in-between tenancies and during inspections) to help identify and minimise risks. So here are a few safety procedures that you may want to apply:

  • Keep supplied appliances to a minimum. This is critical in my opinion! So many single-let landlords provide junk like kettles and toasters for no apparent reason, and all it does is increase risk for literally zero reward!
  • Ensure that all fuses are of the correct type and rating.
  • Make sure appliances supplied are complete and in working order.
  • Ensure that flexes are in good order and properly attached to appliances and plugs.
  • Ensure that earth tags are in place.
  • Make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory.
  • Ensure that plugs are of an approved type with sleeved live and neutral pins.
  • Pay particular attention to second hand equipment – always have these items checked.
  • Ensure that operating instructions and safety warning notices are supplied with the appliances.
  • Make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch.

Electrical Safety Regulations For Landlords in Wales (Overview)

Any Welsh landlords up in here? If so, don’t worry, I’ve also got you covered. But only because nothing has changed for you. it’s still same-same, the new regulation that landlords in England are subject to doesn’t apply to you, so I already had the information written up. In any case, let’s not lock-horns over the why’s, the important thing is I have plenty of food for all.

There are no statutory obligation for landlords in Wales to have professional checks carried out on electrical systems or appliances for single-let propertiess. However, as expected, you are obligated to ensure that all electrical instalments and provided appliances in private rented accommodation is in safe working order, which are covered in:

Electrical appliances safety / PAT testing in Rentals

PAT testing is not a legal requirement, but it is recommended. The same guidelines I covered above for landlords in England apply.

General electrical safety measures

Again, the same guidelines I covered above for landlords in England apply.

Seeeesh-kebab, thank the F’ing lord that’s over. That was miserable.

If I missed anything out, made a balls-up, or if you have anything further to add, please feel free to pick-up the mic…

Love & Peace xo

P.s. you may notice some terribly old comments below, don’t be alarmed! I have repurposed an old blog post on electrical safety and given it a spruce up and dragged it back to the front line in light of the latest update. Much of the original content is still very relevant so remains intact (particularly for my Welsh brothers and sisters).

308 Join the Conversation...

Showing 258 - 308 comments (out of 308)
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Carmel 17th March, 2021 @ 12:02

Thank you for reminder today
Your a star

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Stealth Bomber 17th March, 2021 @ 12:32

@ andy grg Your electrical certificate is valid as its less than 5 years old, and its not a change of tenant.

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Stealth Bomber 17th March, 2021 @ 13:02

@Rosemary You need to play it cute as you could well paint yourself into a corner.
If the work that's been done by your semi retired chap is notifiable under Part P of the Building Regs, then he's not done you any favours. Even if its not notifiable, contractors smell a rat when they see 'new' activity, yet they're asked to do a report.
The best thing you can do is 'age' the work that's been done, make it look old and existing, then appoint an NICEIC approved contractor to carry out an EICR. Forget the previous contractor encounter, and start afresh.

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Steve 17th March, 2021 @ 14:30

So if we have an EICR done and its all passed with all remedial work done, then the tenant moves out a month later replaced by a new tenant, can we use the existing paper work OR do we have to have yet another test done on the off chance that past tenant cracked a plug socket?

My sparky said we will have to do another test but will only charge me 50% of the cost as its move of a visual test seeing as it will only be a month out?

Thoughts?

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Terry Parker 17th March, 2021 @ 14:32

Just paid for 4 inspections in Doncaster on 2 x 2 bed bungalows and 2 x 3 bed bungalows. Cost was £120 each including full report and any minor remedial work.

When getting quotes prices varied between £100 and £200 depending on how busy the contractors were. £200 was based on an evening as it was the only time they could fit us in.

When you think about how long the inspection takes, in most cases it was 2 hours, and how much the hourly rate is some electricians are taking advantage of the situation.

I also believe the inspections are the right thing to do. Most of us out there upgrade our electrics, plumbing, boilers etc when we purchase older properties. Unfortunately there are a few out there that will be in for a ‘shock’ with these reports and there will be some significant costs involved to put things right.

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Martin 17th March, 2021 @ 16:38

@Terry Parker - To carry out an EICR thoroughly will take a minimum of 3 hours if all the tests are carried out on all circuits. A qualified electrician has a van, insurance, testers and annual subscriptions, tools and many other overheads. It can take an hour or so off-site to complete the EICR paperwork. So in total 3 to 4 hours work. So between £140 to £180 is a reasonable price if you want it done properly. There are many companies offering to do it in 2 hours or less, some for £80. But as with most things in life, in general, you get what you pay for. You are right, there are some electricians taking advantage but most that are competent and qualified will carry out a thorough test and inspection.

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Tracy 17th March, 2021 @ 18:34

Totally peed off with being ignored by my landlord. Despite asking 3 times when he will be getting this done we have been totally ignored. Where can I report this too please?

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GriffMG 17th March, 2021 @ 18:40

@Tracy

I would refer you to this from Shelter

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/electrical_safety_in_rented_homes

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Tracy 17th March, 2021 @ 20:09

@GriffMG thanks so much 👍

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Julie Hoult 18th March, 2021 @ 07:16

Just double checking on 2 questions And I apologise if this has already been asked. Thanks for any assistance.

My tenants signed up for a 4 year contract which ends September 2022. Do I need to do an EICR now or later? Just checking first.

Secondly, Where I live so many electricians have said they are busy right up to May plus. So if I pre-booked an electrician say to do the work beginning of May, as a Landlord I won't be penalised that I don't have an EICR in hand on April 1st?? As long as I can prove I have a qualified electrician booked in to do the work?
Thanks from Julie

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Stealth Bomber 18th March, 2021 @ 16:12

@Steve There is provision for a visual domestic report. You would hope a bit of joined up thinking will prevail, and a visual is sufficient if theres no deviation from the valid EICR within a 5 year period.

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Steve 18th March, 2021 @ 17:17

@Stealth Bomber Thanks mate, it does make common sense so thats good to hear!

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Simon B 18th March, 2021 @ 20:43

I own and rent out the downstairs flat in a Victorian House conversion. The upstairs flat is owner occupied. Our electricity from UK Power Network is shared. The impedance measurement has come in too high so we need an earthing rod put in. I'm told this is a shared responsibly so the cost can be divided. However as this is legislation for only those renting their properties out, can I require contribution from the upstairs flat owner? I am the freeholder by the way and upstairs have a 100 year lease. Thanks in advance for all answers.

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Stealth Bomber 18th March, 2021 @ 23:51

@Simon B. My what a plate of spaghetti! Simply put, its best if you explain to the upstairs flat that there are issues which could give rise to potenial danger. Its best if the earthing arrangement is brought up to speed for all parties concerned.
The technicalities are a little difficult to explain and cover every aspect without seeing it, but effectively you are the same building, if the worst happened. Put it in writing if you have to, then they can't claim ignorance to the problem.
We wouldnt have this crap if the supply network took some responsibility, they get away with murder.
Hope all goes well, its not too painful a job.

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Simon B 20th March, 2021 @ 08:45

Thanks @stealthbomber. I agree about the power network. They were very quick to wash their hands of it unless I wanted to have the power cable replaced. This starts from £1500. What are any thoughts on cable replacement versus earth rods? I'm told earth rods are not always successful and also degrade over time so need replacement. Thanks again for answers.

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Stealth Bomber 20th March, 2021 @ 22:48

@Simon B. There's no real issue with earth spikes if installed correctly, and you need to get your rental property compliant as the main priority.
Yes, getting the supply sorted would be the best solution, and it would cure the problem for both dwellings. But that's not going to happen quickly, dealing with utilities takes on a life of its own.

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Connie 21st March, 2021 @ 00:22

So after 3 texts and 2 phone calls our landlord decided to answer our call today. We asked him what he has in place as the inspection needs to be done by 1 April. He says he knows nothing about it (he has 12 properties) and then accuses my partner of being the only tenant in the country who must know about it, despite him telling him I am a landlord myself. He then went on saying if that's the case he would be putting our rent up!!! A complete bully and 🔔end. Not fair he should have us over a barrel like this. If we report him we could be out of a home 😪

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Se7en 21st March, 2021 @ 11:29

@Connie

What is wrong with landlords these days? I bend over backwards to make sure my tenants are happy and they know it, because of this I have a peaceful life. Landlords such as yours should be sticking to his duty and getting the things done that need to be done. I've completed 90% of my EICRS with a few more to do, but I'm on it.

As for him threatening to put your rent up because you're a landlord yourself, well he seems like a right arrogant pr**k. Hand in your notice and find somewhere else. It's not worth the hassle.

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Lisa Dopson 21st March, 2021 @ 12:04

Hi I have 3 properties and the tenants have been in them for over 10 years, i have not renewed the tenancy since the start and have discussed the duration with them and they have agreed will remain for the next 10-15 years until i retire and need to sell the property. Does this exempt me from the EICR as it is long term tenancy. Could i draw up a 7 year tenancy now?

Thanks

Lisa

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GriffMG 21st March, 2021 @ 18:24

I would think you would need documentary evidence to support that position, and as you would only need to produce that if you were in serious trouble (fire, fall out with tenant) the authorities would look at it quite carefully...

Personally, I would get the inspection done and follow the recommendations as far as practicable.
Do you get gas safety certs? Why skimp on leccy.

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AlexS 22nd March, 2021 @ 15:57

I received this as one of the reasons (as well as a couple of 'Further Investigations') as to why my rental property didn't get a SATISFACTORY rating:

"Downlights aren't fire-rated and require changing to LED units - C2"

but elsewhere it's suggested that this isn't in the scope of the EICR, unless they (halogen downlights) are actually shown to be dangerous? We can replace them without too much problem, but I just wonder if this is actually a genuine "C2" or a make-work project for the sparky? He described this as a "strong advisory" which, in my understanding, should be a C3?

ALSO

How are people interpreting the requirement in the guidance to send any reports of remedial work to both the tenant and to "the local authority". Is this just if the LA ask for it? I have no contact with the LA - I wouldn't know who or where to send it to?

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Stealth Bomber 25th March, 2021 @ 09:42

@Lisa Dopson. The length of tenancy is irrelevant, it doesnt get you out of having the EICR by April 2021.
Its prescribed as a 5 year maximum interval, to have an electrical inspection and achieve a safe and satisfactory condition.
A visual report should suffice if theres a change of tenant shortly after the inspection, and theres no changes or alterations from the original report.

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Stealth Bomber 25th March, 2021 @ 11:11

@AlexS Fire rated downlights are needed where the ceiling forms a fire compartment from other areas. If its an ordinary dwelling they're not required.
If you have the older halogen lamps, they should have been installed with fire hoods as thats part of building regs.
This is where some electricians are caught in the misunderstanding and crossover between BS7671 and Building Regs.
Some electricians wouldn't even comment on it, others a code 3, but its not a code 2 based on fire rating alone.

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Guy Tibbert 30th March, 2021 @ 00:06

Hello.

I have a new build flat (about 12 years old) which has just had an EICR and has failed with a C2. The reason for the failure was the downlighters in a shower enclosure was not protected via an RCD.

On the face of it, that makes sense BUT the downlighters are 12v and powered from a double insulated transformer. I queried the fail with the electrician (and also asked if replacing the MCB with an RCBO would do) and was told:-

"It is mainly to do with the lack of RCD protection & no supplementary bonding present. Yes, the fitting are low voltage but they are not protected via RCD and within the zones, hence us coding a C2."

Is this correct - or has someone failed it assuming the lamps were mains - and when I pointed out that they were 12v decided to bluff their way forward. I also thought it odd that an electrician would refer to a 12v fitting as "low voltage" too.

I did ask the electrician at what point the code changed to make an installation that was fully to code 12 years ago, now a "dangerous fail". He didn't answer that.

Was the electrician right to C2 this - or should it have passed? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts please.

Many thanks
Guy

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Stealth Bomber 31st March, 2021 @ 13:11

@Guy Tibbert As ever, nothing is straight forward with electrics. Assuming you're looking at an installation circa 2009, this should have been compliant to 17th Edition anyway, and therefore you should have a dual RCD consumer unit protecting all circuits. That would end the conversation.
It sounds, at best guess that you have a split board, with one RCD protecting sockets and power outlets. Lighting would then be on a normal MCB as per 16th Edition, with supplementary bonding to metallic pipework and electrical circuits.
Its not that you have a dangerous installation, but things get a little involved. Proving cables run in safe zones, depth buried in walls, especially partition dry wall, or metallic protection is nigh on impossible to verify. Its recognised that the safest way forward is to achieve RCD/RCBO protection to all circuits, and as its a relatively simple and non intrusive process, that's the take on it.

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Guy 31st March, 2021 @ 14:05

Ok, that's fair enough then, thank you.

It just seemed "odd" that it had failed when it seemed to me to be intrinsically safe.

I will get a local electrician to RCBO it, do I then have to have another EICR do you know - or can the electrician doing the work just provide a reciept detailing the corrective work done and keep it with the certificate?

Thank you for you clarification, much appreicated.

Guy

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Stealth Bomber 31st March, 2021 @ 22:30

@Guy The rcbo will require an electrical installation completion certificate issuing for that particular circuit, as its a change of protective device. Your contractor then takes ownership of that circuit.
Simply include it as an addendum to your EICR, if thats the only thing making it unsatisfactory.

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Geoff Davis 31st March, 2021 @ 22:51

Just had Eicr done as a landlord with a C2 fail as follows

6.18 e)no rcd protection on lighting cooker or heating

Is RCD protection mandatory or recommended?

Thanks in advance.

Geoff

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Brian H 31st March, 2021 @ 23:14

@Stealth Bomber @Guy Although nobody would argue that RCD protection is a good idea and recommended etc,. as I understand it there is nothing in the new regulations that requires an installation to be brought up to date as long as there is no signs of stress / overheating etc or Live wires exposed. If the installation is still as it was when installed then it should not attract any C1 or C2 faults. The 18th edition states this.

Electrical Safety First guidance notice No 1 (www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk)
3. Legal requirements 3.1. There is no legal requirement that calls for an existing installation to be upgraded to current standards.

Electrical Safety First guidance notice No 4 (www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk) seems to be the guidance to follow for existing installations.
"As its title indicates, this is a report and not a certificate. It provides an assessment of the current in-service condition of an electrical installation against the requirements of the edition of BS 7671 current at the time of the inspection, irrespective of the age of the installation".

I look forward to being corrected. I am sure that the laywers will have a field-day when a few of theses cases are contested.

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Guy 1st April, 2021 @ 01:16

Awesome. Thank you.

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Stealth Bomber 2nd April, 2021 @ 13:08

@Brian H Just another situation in the electrical industry where everything is made so clear, we all have a different view!
I suspect the main issue stems from those who qualified to 17th Edition. They had full RCD protection drummed into them, so there's no give and take in understanding older installations. I doubt those who worked or trained to 16th edition, would give a code 2 simply for the lack of RCD prescence.

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Brian H 2nd April, 2021 @ 13:21

@Stealth Bomber, So true, I still have my 14th edition to refer to! Shows my age.

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Stealth Bomber 2nd April, 2021 @ 16:32

@Brian H Wow, those were hazy days! I hope you are long since retired and in good health.

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Brian H 2nd April, 2021 @ 17:59

@Stealth Bomber. Hazy indeed, but much simpler. A fuse was a bit of wire. Pvc cable was the new material. Ring mains were the new system. Earthing to lighting circuits was advised. Earthing was ??????????? whatever , usually to the company main or copper rod, no measurements. Testing was optional, I had (and still have) the wind up mega voltage generator tester, great for Christmas parties. Building regs didn't want to know, RCD's and breakers were unheard of although I did fit a Chiltern Voltage operated breaker 100ma on my own TT installation about 50 yrs ago.
I retired from the building industry as a Chartered Builder, bought a boatyard and started again, now I am just a Landlord (3 units), although that is becoming a full time job these days just keeping up with the regs. Health is good apart from needing a new set of lungs after years of smoking, cement, asbestos, fumes, chemicals etc. You pay for your indiscretions eventually. Coming up 78 in May.

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Carmel 4th April, 2021 @ 17:29

Thanks for all your information. Have had an unsatisfactory EICR done with several things wrong £200 for 30..40 minutes inspection. I did email the company pre testing some few times as per Gov't guidelines with questions as I'm not an electrician and wanted to have a competent person to do the test, remembering this is all online with just company name and spoke to the secretary a few times who assured me that the company was approved, insured and had professional indemnity, so had no idea the name of the sparks until I received the report which I had to request. Company with NICEIC and I had checked on the site but when I checked his name on the Competent person site following the test he was not passed competent to do testing. Well everything was wrong with the test and although old property with no trip but when I asked if it was UNSAFE they could not answer and were irritated with me. But the question is folks that if your request a testing by a company can you assume that they can do any further work needed within 28 days as he offered me July...very big out of town job booked. Where does that leave us in terms of getting work done within the time frame not to mention free re test.. Reply from the Basildon company with lovely online pictures of Vans etc (sure its a one man band working from home with his wife) I'm an honest, decent person (not a complete Mug) and all this is very upsetting. Just thought I'd share as must be others with similar tales. Just need an honest electrician and how can one know one? I'm a private landlord with only 2 properties which I want to keep safe for tenants.

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Stealth Bomber 6th April, 2021 @ 12:47

@Carmel. Firstly give him the chance to carry out remedial works, and inform him that the Landlord Electrical Safety Regs states within 28 days. Although there's no clear timeframe under BS7671 wiring regs, 'urgent' means a similar, reasonable period anyway, not 4 months time!
If the company is NICEIC registered, it would be worth contacting them if you dont get any joy from their 'approved contractor'.
These things can drag on, which does you no favours. If you get the feeling its not working out, sometimes it's better to write it off as an experience, and put more effort into sourcing a reputable company. Look locally for someone with premises and registered company house.

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Carmel 8th April, 2021 @ 13:00

@ Stealth Bomber
Thank you for your advice, much appreciated. He appears not to want to take the job on and as I now know he is not on the Competent Person Scheme although he says he is in NICEIC and that covers him. So think I'll just put it down to experience. The difficulty most of them are home based . Its picking a decent one. Maybe just sell up as who needs the stress.
Thank you

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Lemon19sherbert 9th April, 2021 @ 19:46

Hi all, would be grateful for some advice. Our rental failed - it needs rewiring. No, it wasn’t a dodgy electrician, it was someone we know and trust. The problem is our tenants work from home and are refusing to give us access for the 2 days it would take to re-wire in order for it to pass. They can’t cope with the noise and interruption to power for those days. What can I do? Could I get them to sign a disclaimer to say they have refused the necessary work? Thanks

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Stealth Bomber 12th April, 2021 @ 05:15

@Lemon19sherbert. Nothing like cooperative tenants, and all this working from home lark has caused even more problems.
Ultimately the Landlord Electrical Safety Regs are on your side, so notify your tenant that you have a 28 day timeframe to make the property compliant.
Its a wild one that the property needs such major work doing, and you need to play it smart so you dont end up in a ' the place is going to burn down and we're all going to die and it should never have been rented out
in the first place' situation.
Be reasonable, explain you have to meet these new regs to be legally complaint, and some upgrading is required. They can't be working all the time, offer to go in on a weekend, even if its at premium rates for contractors,eek!
I doubt your insurers would be too impressed with disclaimers and the unsatisfactory report not being actioned.

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GriffMG 12th April, 2021 @ 07:20

A full rewire is very likely to take more than two days, even if you go the (not much cheaper) surface mount route.

Remember to factor in a bit of redecorating too... the one (1 bed) flat we had to rewire took me a couple of weeks to redecorate, every wall and every ceiling had to be redone. It had to be done though, you cannot rely of earths using steel conduit or 1960s cables anymore.

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NorthernBird 13th April, 2021 @ 09:56

Can someone please confirm if it is a legal requirement to have a boiler and cooker PAT tested even if they have fixed wiring? I assumed that PAT was portable appliance testing?!

I think I may be being taken for a ride by the letting agent.

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GriffMG 13th April, 2021 @ 10:19

From
https://www.lettingaproperty.com/landlord/blog/pat-testing-for-landlords/#pat-testing-legal-requirement

Is PAT testing a legal requirement for landlords?
Portable Appliance Testing is not an official legal requirement for landlords in England and Wales, however, it is considered best practice. The government state that landlords must make sure “the electrical system is safe” and “all appliances they supply are safe”.

Whilst it is not a government legal requirement, it may be a condition enforced by your local council. Some areas, such as Newcastle Upon Tyne, require landlords to carry out a PAT test on their electrical appliances.

Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must have PAT tests carried out.

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NorthernBird 13th April, 2021 @ 12:04

Thanks GriffMG

Whilst I understand what you have stated it does not answer my question. I would like to know if my agent is trying to pull a fast one by saying I need a PAT on my boiler and cooker (both hard wired)?

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GriffMG 13th April, 2021 @ 12:32

I do not PAT test boilers or cookers, I could be persuaded to test washing machines, fridges and freezers - but never have, because as soon as they don't look new (and/or the tenancy is being renewed) we replace them.

Now, it COULD be that your agent has that requirement written into your contract as part for his service level agreement, or something like that, but there is no requirement to PAT test a boiler, it's very much not portable. Cookers could be a grey area. If an electric cooker is 'hard wired' into a cooker spur it probably can't easily be tested, if a gas cooker needs power for ignition and lighting... it could be tested, but I wouldn't be comfortable with an electrician testing it unless they are Safe registered for gas work...

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NorthernBird 13th April, 2021 @ 12:38

That is what I was thinking. Thanks for explaining.

I do not supply fridge/freezer, cooker or washing machine so I do not need to test them. I also would have thought that during each EICR/GSC this would be looked at and then if any visual inspections are done.

I will be having a word with my agent!

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GriffMG 13th April, 2021 @ 12:54

Of course a gas cooker would be safety checked each year anyway... by a Safe registered engineer.

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Stealth Bomber 14th April, 2021 @ 19:00

Cookers and boilers are fixed equipment, they do not form part of the COPISITEE code of practice for in service electrical equipment. Fixed equipment forms an electrical circuit under BS7671. Showers, boilers, immersion heaters and so on.
Simply put, COPISITEE applys to electrical equipment which has a plug and socket arrangement. You can't even test something that's fix wired, with a PAT test meter!
If you have any anomolies like fan assisted ovens, cooker hoods or gas hob ignitions that plug in, its best to cut the plug off, and install a switched fused spur, that takes things into the fixed wire bracket, and away from PAT arguments.
Companies and Housing Associations can, and do, adopt a best practice policy, which protects their position from a negligence stand point, but thats all. There's no requirement legally, no expiry or retest due date on PAT labels anymore.

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GriffMG 14th April, 2021 @ 22:13

Pretty much what I said then

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E Lowe 11th June, 2021 @ 13:06

Hi,
We are tenants & finally had an electrical safety check carried out on April 19th 2021 this was arranged by the agents. When the electrician had finished after about 3 hrs he told me there was remedial work to be done. He said the landlord/ agents did not have to have him do them that was up to them. But he said things needed doing to be able to get a certificate. We have had nothing through the post or email about this since. Yet at the start of May we were served notice. Can our landlord do this? Thanks in advance

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AlexS 11th June, 2021 @ 14:48

@E Lowe

The two things aren't necessarily linked. In theory you should have been sent a copy of the report and the remedial works should have been done within 28 days of the first report.

If the landlord was planning to sell up though then perhaps he is taking a risk and delaying any work until the property is empty?

You could make a fuss about the fact you didn't get the report and the remedial work hasn't been done, but it probably won't change the fact that notice has been served. What was the remedial work?

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The Landlord 25th June, 2021 @ 12:01

Gents/Ladies,

I seek expert advise!

I had an EICR fail for a commercial warehouse, I was told that one out of the two consumer units needs replacing. The company quoted me for the remedial work, which I agreed to. Then, on the morning they were due to carry out the work, they called me to cancel the work, because they misquoted the job, and needed me to agree to a x3 price increase to what they had originally quoted before they will do the work.

Obviously, pissed!!

I got a second opinion (I showed another sparky the failed EICR report and pictures of the consumer units), and he was under the impression that the failed consumer unit doesn't need replacing in order to pass, but rather, it just needs replacement breakers, in order to give RCD protection. I quote, "you're having your pants pulled down, mate"

What and who am I to believe here?

Bear in mind, the first sparky did a physical in-person inspection (sidenote: he did come across as a bit of a cowboy), while the second one just looked at pics and the failed report.

Is it possible for a competent sparky to analyse the situation by pics, and make a definitive judgement?

Final bit of the rant to top it off: it's almost impossible to find a sparky that doesn't have a 2 week waiting list! I need this EICR to pass ASAP, urgh!

Thanks in advance, sparky-boffins!

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