Keeping your tenants safe is key when you’re a landlord and one major area of safety is your rental property’s electrics.
But what do you need to do to stay compliant?
Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs), which are in place to help keep your tenants safe.
What is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?
An EICR is a thorough examination and inspection of your rental property’s electrical systems.
These reports and inspections are periodic and must be undertaken by a qualified and registered electrical engineer.
The aim of the report is to highlight, prevent or fix:
- Any possible fire hazards caused by electrics
- Risk of electric shock
- Lack of earthing
- Overloaded circuits or equipment
All ‘fixed’ parts of the property electricals will be tested and assessed, including:
- Light fittings
- Fuse box
- Permanently connected equipment like showers or extractor fans
Are other electrical devices inspected?
EICR regulations don’t include appliances that aren’t fixed electrical installations.
So, cookers, hobs, fridges and televisions aren’t covered in the EICR.
While not a legal requirement, landlords should regularly carry out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) on electrical devices or appliances they supply to tenants.
Any electrical appliances brought into the property and used by the tenant are the tenant’s responsibility.
What does an EICR look like?
An EICR is a report outlining the condition of the electrics in your rental property, highlighting any remedial work that needs to be carried out.
Remedial work grading is in three categories:
- C1 – Danger, immediate attention required
- C2 – Potential danger, urgent attention required
- C3 – No danger, but improvements recommended
If a C1 or C2 assessment is made, remedial work is required. In the case of a C3 report, no remedial work is needed, but improvements are recommended to you to improve the safety of your property.
Do landlords need an EICR?
Prior to April 2020, only landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) need to provide a valid EICR in order to let their properties.
EICRs were recommended for standard buy-to-let properties but weren’t legally required.
Since July 1, 2020, EICRs have been required for all new tenancies in England and the reports will be a legal requirement for all tenancies from April 1, 2021.
Once the report has been carried out at your rental property, you must:
- Supply a copy of the EICR to your tenants within 28 days
- Send a copy of the report to the local authority, if requested, within seven days
- Keep a copy of the EICR to give to the next electrician at the date of the next inspection
- Supply a copy of your most recent EICR to any new tenants
Do new-build properties need an EICR to be rented out?
New-build homes should have an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC).
An EIC can be provided to tenants and the local authority if requested and no further checks then need to be carried out for five years from the date of the EIC.
What to do if your electrics are labelled ‘unsafe’
If your EICR comes back and your property is not safe, you must carry out remedial work, through a qualified engineer, within 28 days of the inspection or within a date specified in the report.
Once the work is complete, you must request written confirmation from the engineer and supply this to both your tenants and the local authority.
Penalties for unsafe electrics
If required remedial work is not carried out within the specified time frame, the local authority can arrange for work to be done while recovering costs from you as a landlord.
Fines of up to £30,000 can also be issued to landlords in breach of the EICR regulations.
How long does an EICR last?
EICRs are valid for five years.
If you had a valid report before EICRs became mandatory in April 2020, this report will still be valid until its expiry date.
If your last EICR was carried out longer than five years ago, you’ll need to have a new inspection ahead of any new tenancy and before April 1, 2021 for an existing tenancy.
Landlords and homeowners can currently take advantage of the Green Homes Grant scheme to make their properties more energy efficient.
If you’re thinking about applying for a Green Homes Grant, or want to know more, take a look at our guide to the scheme.