Landlord Electrical Safety inspection- What is an EICR?
It is an abbreviation for an electrical installation condition report (EICR).
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020. It and applies to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020.
The regulation requires landlords to have electrical installations in their properties inspected every 5 years. The test must be conducted by a qualified and competent person.
Landlords must give a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and the local authority if asked.
Most landlords check their installations regularly by using qualified electrical engineers to provide a safe home for their tenants. Visual inspection of the light fittings, sockets, fuse board and electrical wiring will indicate if the property has unsafe electrics.
NAPIT has provided guidance on the requirements to aid landlords to better understand the EICR legislation, its requirement and implementation.
What do EICR regulations say:
Private landlords need to ensure every electrical installation in their residential premises is inspected and tested at intervals of 5 years by a qualified and competent person.
The EICR regulations for new specified tenancies in England apply from 1 July 2020. This includes all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. The ‘New specified tenancies’ are deemed as any tenancy created on or after 1 June 2020.
Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must:
- obtain a report from the (electrician) person conducting the inspection, which gives the results of the test and of the next inspection and test due date
- supply a copy of the report to each tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test
- provide a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority
- retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test
- provide a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant of the specified tenancy to which the report relates before that tenant occupies those premises; and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant
Action needed in case of an Unsatisfactory Report:
Where an Electrical Installation Safety Report finds urgent remedial work or requires ‘further investigation’.
The private landlord must ensure that the necessary work is carried out by a qualified and competent electrician within 28 days (or the period specified in the report if it is less than 28 days), starting with the inspection and testing date.
The landlord must then:
- obtain written confirmation from a qualified person that further investigative or remedial work has been conducted and that the electrical safety standards have been met or that further investigative or remedial work is required.
- Supply that written confirmation, together with a copy of the report, which needed further remedial work to each existing tenant. This needs to be provided within 28 days of completion of further remedial work and the local housing authority within 28 days of completion of further investigative or remedial work.
EICR Breach & enforcement action by the council
Local authorities enforce the new regulations; they can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they find a landlord is in breach of their duty.
Local authorities have the power to serve remedial notices on the landlord.
Suppose the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken with 28 days. In that case, the local authority can arrange remedial work to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, and recover the cost from the landlord.
What EICR report should I be asking for?
The report that you need to request is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a report carried out to check the safety of the existing electrical installation within a dwelling and is used to describe its condition.
Parts of the system reported include consumer units, protective bonding, lighting, switches, sockets, etc. Its purpose is to confirm whether the electrical installation is in a safe condition for continued service.
The EICR will show whether the electrical installation is in a ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ condition and detail a list of observations affecting the safety or requiring improvements.
The EICR will have the following codes, which are industry standard, and they are simple to follow so all can understand them.
Unsatisfactory Codes for EICR:
- C1 – Danger present, risk of injury or immediate remedial action needed
- C2 – Potentially Dangerous, urgent corrective action needed.
- FI – Further investigation needed
A Satisfactory Code is:
- C3 – Improvement recommended
Action is needed if the EICR issued is unsatisfactory. If an EICR has a C1, C2 or FI code, it is unsatisfactory.
If a C1 is discovered, the electrician will often use temporary measures to make the dangerous installation safe.
Then, as is the case with a C2 or FI code, it is the owner’s responsibility to arrange a repair, replacement, or further investigation within 28 days.
A C3 code, ‘improvement recommended’, is given to aspects of the installation that do not present danger but increase the property’s safety standard.
Occasionally a C3 code may be attributed to an item that does not follow current regulations but did comply at the time it was installed.
The C3 code does not mean the installation is unsafe and should not impose a requirement to have work carried out by the owner. Where there are only C3 observations listed, this will result in a satisfactory EICR being issued.
Will I get a Certificate to prove my compliance?
There is no requirement for a certificate, you will, however, receive a report which will be issued, and it must include the following:
- The results of the inspection and test (satisfactory or unsatisfactory)
- If applicable, a list of observations requiring remedial work or further investigation
- The date the next inspection and test is due by
As an EICR can be long and technical, NAPIT has created a “Landlord Electrical Installation Safety Record” which is easy to understand.
If the EICR fails, will I need another electrical installation safety report done again?
No. you just need the remedial work or further investigation to be done within 28 days or within the period specified on your report if it is less than 28 days.
Landlords require written confirmation (Electrical Installation Certificates or Minor Work Certificates) from the electrician you use to do any rectification work to prove the necessary jobs have been completed.
This must be kept with the unsatisfactory report.
Do I need to send a copy of the EICR report with proof of remedial work being completed to the council within 28 days?
This requirement has been specifically introduced to alert the council to any properties which may have been sub-standard but are now safe for the tenant.
You must provide the council with the unsatisfactory report along with written confirmation to prove you have had the necessary remedial/or further investigative work done.
How do I check if the electrician I use to test my electrical installation meets the qualified and competent requirement?
Any Electrician you use to do the electrical inspection and testing in your property must have:
- Adequate insurance. This should include at least £2 million in public liability insurance and £250,000 professional indemnity insurance
- A qualification covering the current version of the wiring regulations (BS 7671)
- A qualification covering the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations
- At least two year’s experience in carrying out periodic inspection and testing
Using someone on NAPIT’s Electrical Inspector register ensures that the above criteria are met.
The advantages of using a registered company are:
- The qualifications, experience and competence of their employees have been verified
- The company is assessed regularly to verify ongoing competence, and that insurance and record-keeping is in place
- Their inspection work is checked for compliance
- The registration or certification body to which they belong can require them to take steps to correct errors or improve their performance, take sanctions to ensure compliance or ultimately to remove approval
Does my property need to follow the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations?
No- The 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations states the following:
“existing installations that have been installed following earlier editions of the regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. Which does not necessarily mean they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading”.
What types of tenancy come under the EICR regulations?
Suppose a private tenant has a right to occupy a property as their only or primary residence and pays rent. In such cases, the EICR regulations apply, subject to some excluded tenancies (set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations).
The regulation applies to assured shorthold tenancies and licences to occupy a residential property.
Will an electrical report need to be done at the start or during a statutory periodic tenancy?
For dwellings let on statutory periodic tenancy where the fixed term expires between July 2020 and April 2021 will need an inspection and test.
For statutory periodic tenancies – where on expiry of the fixed term, the tenancy rolls over into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute. The periodic tenancy would be considered a new tenancy. Which means you must get an EICR.
Does EICR Regulation apply to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
Yes, they do. The earlier regulations were repealed, and the new regulation applies to HMOs from 1 June 2020.
If I did not give my tenant an EICR report within 28 days, does it prevent me from serving a Section 21 notice on my tenant?
No, it does not fall under these new regulations.
What happens if I do not have an EICR Report?
The council can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
If a private landlord does not obtain a satisfactory electrical installation safety, report their property as set out in the regulations. Or you do not undertake the required remedial work or further investigation within the necessary timeframe.
The local council must serve a remedial notice giving the landlord 28 days to act.
If the landlord does not act, the council can instruct an authorised person to do the required remedial work with the consent of the tenant.
The council can recover reasonable costs of the work from the landlord.
Do the electrical regulations apply to fixed and portable electrical appliances?
These regulations have not set any requirement on fixed or portable electrical appliances that a landlord has provided.
However, it is strongly recommended any electrical appliances provided by a landlord to a tenant should be regularly electrically inspected and tested.
It is recommended that the landlords consider testing fixed electrical appliances and the Electrical Installation Inspection and test simultaneously.
You can read the BLA guidance on portable appliance testing.
I cannot get the EICR report done due to my tenant self-isolating; what can I do?
Provided you have evidence to show that you have tried to take all the steps to get the work done under the regulation. You will need to keep proof of communications with your tenant, the electrician, regarding the work, including any replies. This evidence should be sufficient.
You can also provide other evidence that the installation is in good condition while you try to get the work done. You can read the COVID-19 pandemic government guidance for landlords and tenants here.
Is an electrician allowed to enter my property during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes, they should consider the advice published about the COVID-19 virus and social distancing when working in occupied homes.
My tenant won’t allow me access to complete the EICR
If you are attempting to complete an EICR inspection and your tenant is not allowing access and the tenant’s failure is persist then you should do the following:
- contact the local council environmental officer requesting help to obtain access to the let property. The officer needs to be local to the let property. It is vital to email so you have a record of your email. in the email you need to set out your failed attempts to gain access for whatever reason.
- Send an email to the tenant and the guarantor if you have one requesting access to the let property.
- If you have agents managing the property get them to send you an email setting out the problem with access to complete the test.
- If you are a BLA member send an email setting out the problems with access.
The above is a record of you reaching out for help in an attempt to be proactive in dealing with the tenant’s failure to grant access.
How long does it take to do electrical safety checks?
It should take between 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the property and the condition of the electrical circuit and the fuse box, also known as the consumer unit.
Half of all UK house fires are caused accidentally by defective house wiring. Lack of regular electrical safety checks can be life-threatening. Also, every year over 65 people die from incorrect wiring.
What does an EICR test report involve?
An EICR test will check the condition of the electrical installation and evaluate how efficiently it is working.
The test looks for any deterioration, defects, or areas of electric shock risks, safety and or fire hazards—safety issues like bonding or earthing of installations and any electrical equipment.
Do landlords need an EICR?
Legally residential landlords must obtain a report (Electrical Installation Condition Report) from the electrician conducting the inspection and test. The EICR will explain its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work needed.
How much does an EICR test cost?
The cost of an electrical installation condition reports (EICR) depends on how big the property is. The average price for a 3-bedroom house is between £80 to £140.
Where can I get an EICR inspection done?
EICRs can only be carried out by qualified electricians with the relevant skills and competencies. You can check on websites like CheckaTrade.
Is the 5-year electrical test a legal requirement?
Yes, it is for residential properties. Private landlords must make sure every electrical installation in their residential property is inspected and tested at regular intervals of no more than 5 years.
This must be conducted by a qualified and competent person.
Do I need an EICR to sell my house?
An EICR is not legally needed if you are selling your property. However, it may help potential buyers and give them peace of mind that the electrics are safe.
How long is an EICR valid for?
It is recommended an EICR is carried out every ten years, five years for privately residential rented properties. Or if there is a change of tenant in a dwelling.
Can a tenant move in without an EICR?
No, not if you do not have a valid EICR. However, new build properties should already have one.
Suppose your rental property is a new build or has been completely rewired. In that case, you will not need to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) until five years after your EIC was issued.
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