26 Jul How often should landlords have EICR?
New requirements for mandatory electrical safety EICR checks
The regulations come to force 1st July 2020, all new private tenancies in England will need to ensure that electrical installations are inspected and tested by a qualified person before the tenancy begins. The landlord will then need to ensure that the installation is inspected and tested at least every five years – and more often if the most recent safety report requires it.
For existing tenancies, an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021, with regular tests following this as outlined above.
The regulations will apply to all properties across the private rented sector, including houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), although lodger arrangements where the tenant shares accommodation or amenities with the landlord or their family are excluded. These regulations will replace the existing requirements for HMOs regarding electrical installation testing and inspection.
A ‘qualified person’ for the purposes of these regulations is a person competent to undertake the inspection and testing required and any further investigative or remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards.
Local authorities can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for a breach of the regulations. Where there are multiple breaches, the local authority can impose multiple penalties.
If a landlord breaches the above requirements, the local authority has a duty to act. Where urgent works are not required, the local authority must serve a ‘remedial notice’ on the landlord. This must be served within 21 days of the local authority deciding it has reasonable grounds to act. The landlord will have 28 days from the date of service of the notice to take the action outlined, or must make written representations within 21 days if they disagree with the notice.
Once the landlord has made written representations, the remedial notice is suspended until the local authority responds – which must be within seven days. If the local authority confirms the notice, the suspension ceases, and the landlord has 21 days to comply with the requirements.
If the tenants of the property refuse access to the landlord for these remedial works, the landlord will not be considered to have breached this duty purely because they have not brought legal proceedings to access the property.
If the landlord does not undertake the remedial works, the local authority can access the property with the tenants’ permission to remedy the issue. The local authority must serve notice to the landlord informing them of this action – to which the landlord can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. Local authorities can also recover costs reasonably incurred from the landlord.
Where urgent remedial works are required and the landlord has not undertaken these, the local authority can arrange for the works to be undertaken. The local authority must inform the landlord within seven days of the works commencing.
For more information
But just how often should you have an EICR on the properties you let?
There are three points at which landlords are advised to employ the services of a professional electrician for an electrical safety check.
- EICR for a new property – For landlords who buy to let, a property is like any purchase or investment and it makes sense to know exactly what you’re getting before parting with any money. This can prevent unforeseen costs down the line. A general homebuyer’s survey does not include an inspection of the electrics, yet faulty electrics could cost thousands of pounds to fix – not to mention the risk to safety.
- At change of occupancy – You may have had the electrics inspected at the time of buying a new property, but it is also recommended to get them checked again when one tenant leaves and before a new one arrives. This will enable you to carry out a full safety check to make sure nothing has deteriorated or been damaged during the previous tenancy. It also provides documented proof, both for yourself and the tenant, that the electrics were inspected at the beginning of their tenancy, which can be crucial in the event of any accidents or incidents occurring.
- Every five years – If there is no change of occupancy in the meantime, EICR for landlords is recommended every five years. EICRs will look for any damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions or non-compliances with present day safety standards and should be checked every five years to make sure nothing has changed which would cause concern.