All you need to know about the new EICR legislation

Don’t forget – The Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) deadline is 1st April

Landlords must have an EICR in place for all of their properties by Thursday 1st April 2021. The new legislation that came into place on the 1st June 2020 states that it is a legal requirement for landlords to have all of the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested every 5 years by someone who is “qualified and competent”. 
 
Tenancies that started from the 1st July 2020 should already have an EICR in place and the 1st Failure to comply carries substantial penalties of up to £30,000.

Our partners, Complylex who offer a brilliant compliance and best practice tool for Letting Agencies and Estate Agencies in England and Wales have provided us with a detailed summary of the new legislation. Michael Stoop, Chariman at Complylex commented: ''Such valuable information such as this and all topics that cover the legislation and best practice in both lettings and sales is the reason why, Complylex is a must have tool for every agent in England & Wales that want all their staff to remain compliant, in a quick and efficient way as well as an easy form of learning, at incredible value!''

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Electrical Safety

All appliances and equipment supplied must be safe (marked with CE). It is advisable for Portable Appliance Tests (PAT) to be carried out on portable appliances; this could be a mandatory requirement under some HMO licence conditions.

Plugs and sockets must comply with current British standards and correct fuses must be fitted to plugs.

Electrical installation checks are compulsory for HMOs (see HMO section).

Landlords must ensure there are written instructions not only for all electrical appliances and installations in the property; but any other installation powered by another source. If there are no written operating instructions for an appliance it may be deemed unsafe; and should be removed from the property.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament requiring all landlords and agents to have all fixed electrical installations (that is wiring) tested and if necessary work carried out every five years; and a copy to be given to the tenant within twenty eight days and a copy held by the Agent or the Landlord. The local authority can request a copy of the checks and must receive it within seven days of making the request. The Regulations will apply to all new tenancies, extensions and any tenancy that becomes a statutory periodic on or after tenancy July 1 2020; and to all tenancies currently in existence as from April 1 2021. Government has now issued their Guidance which gives little further information apart from clarifying the situation for a new statutory periodic tenancy. Agents should be aware that the professional body of many electricians is recommending the electrics are re-tested every time there is a change in the named tenant. This may be best practice but not a legal requirement.

The report which is usually used for a test of the fixed electrical installation is known as the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

The main requirements are as follows:
- Every fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested by a qualified person at least every five years;
- The test should be carried out according to the 18th edition of the wiring regulations BS 7671:2018;
- The report should include the test date, results of the inspection and date of next inspection;
- The report should be provided to any new tenant prior to their move-in date;
- The report should be provided to each existing tenant within twenty-eight days of the inspection and a copy held by the Agent or the Landlord;
- The local authority can request a copy of the checks and must receive it within seven days of making the request. This point is relevant to a House in Multiple Occupation and currently has applied prior to the above Regulations being approved;
- Any prospective tenant can request a copy of the report which must be provided to them within 28 days of the test;
- If the report indicates that further work is required, it must be carried out by a qualified person either within the period stated within the report (if within 28 days) or within 28 calendar days of the date of the report.

Agents are advised to include a clause in their Terms of Business requiring landlords to provide an electrical test certificate when taking the initial instruction; or to have the right to have a test carried out at the Landlord’s expense if no certificate is provided . Even if a certificate is provided by the Landlord the Agent should ensure it is checked by a suitably qualified electrician to ensure the wiring has been carried out to the standard required by the new Regulations. If the Agent does not manage the property then the burden of renewal of the test certificate should be shown in the Terms of Business as being the responsibility of the Landlord. At this point in time, lack of an electrical certificate for the relevant properties does not affect the validity of a Section 21 Notice. The Guidance does not currently hint that the situation may change, but it cannot be guaranteed that this will remain the case in the future.

Agents must ensure that electricians instructed hold a valid certificate enabling them to carry out the specified works. A copy should be obtained from relevant contractors and held in the Agent's system. The electrical trade bodies should be able to verify a qualification if requested. The Certificate when issued may recommend works to be carried out. If this is the case then all works must be carried out and the tenant provided with written confirmation within twenty-eight days of completion. If relevant confirmation must also be provided to the local authority.

If work needs to be carried out the electrician will indicate the severity of the work in his initial report. The categories are usually C1, C2, C3 and C4. The electrical authorities deem the work to be carried out if there is any defect within twenty-eight days of the electrician’s initial report; and if the defect falls into categories C2 to C4 it should be safe for the tenant to remain in the property. However, if the defect falls into category C1 which usually means the tenant could be endangered; then the landlord may have to provide alternative accommodation to the tenant (depending upon the terms of the Tenancy Agreement and the urgency of the matter) for the period where the property is unsafe. The Agent should take advice from the electrician regarding the severity of the safety risk and discus the matter with the landlord. Depending upon the landlord’s insurance policies held on the property and contents, insurers may pay to rehouse the tenant.

Who are Complylex? 
COMPLYLEX™ is an essential compliance and best practice tool for every Letting Agency and Estate Agency in England and Wales. COMPLYLEX™ gives the property professional a simple, clear and concise guide to complex property law.

Complylex have an exclusive deal for Kerfuffle members - Free 1 month trial for new customers. Click here for more information

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Annabel McGuire

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