The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 states that it is a legal requirement for all rented properties in England to have a valid Electrical Condition report in place from July 1st 2020 at the start of a new tenancy and by April 1st 2021, the rules will apply to all tenancies, new or existing. One of the main causes of electrical fires in the home is faulty and/or old wiring. Landlords can directly reduce the risk of a fire damaging or even destroying their property by regularly checking the condition of the wiring, fuse board, etc.
What is an EICR?
An EICR is the document issued, following an in-depth inspection and test to check the condition of the electrical installations (electrical outlets, wiring and consumer units) in a property against the national safety standard for electrical installations. It also picks up any potential safety issues.
The checks must be carried out by a professional electrician regulated by an electrical regulatory body. Any faults will be listed on the report, along with an explanation of why that electrical system failed the EICR. The faults will be graded as follows
Code 1 or C1 means ‘Danger is present’, risk of injury is likely and IMMEDIATE action is required. The electrician will fix these there and then or at least make them safe before arranging to return to correct them.
C2 means ‘potentially dangerous’ and remedial action is needed urgently, which the electrician can quote for.
C3 means improvement to your electrical system is recommended, but not required because they see it’s safe. It’s the only code that can appear on a report that’s passed the EICR test.
What is tested?
In general, your electrician will check that:
your consumer unit (fuse board) is safe and compliant with the current regulations.
Everything is correctly earthed – to prevent potentially fatal electric shock.
The wiring in your sockets, lights, switches and accessories is installed correctly.
What if there’s an issue?
If your engineer’s report flags up any issues with the electrical condition, you are duty bound to act immediately, to guarantee the safety of your tenants. For C2 conditions you will have up to 28 days to remedy the fault whereas under C1 immediate action is required.
What are the penalties for failing to comply?
After 1st July, if you do not carry out an EICR before a tenancy commences, you could find yourself facing a hefty fine of up to £30,000, issued by your local Housing Authority.
How often does it need to be done?
Every 5 years for now but sooner if you wish the electrics to be checked upon every handover.