Posted: 18th June 2024

Landlords – here’s how to prevent the electric blues

One of your key responsibilities as a landlord is to ensure the health and safety of your tenants. Regularly testing the fixed electrical installations within your property is an important part of this. This must be done independently and you must supply a copy of the results of the inspection (the Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) to your tenants, as well as to your local authority if required.

Is this a legal obligation?

The EICR requirement is part of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 which came into force on June 1, 2020. It forms part of wider efforts to improve safety within the private rented sector.

The regulations apply only to the fixed electrical installations in your property but it’s good practice to also carry out portable appliance testing for any electrical appliances that you supply.

When do I need an inspection?

The regulations stipulate that landlords must have the electrical installations within their properties tested at least every five years by a “qualified and competent” person. That tester should then provide a report giving the results of the test and setting a date for the next inspection and testing to take place.

What is a ‘qualified and competent’ person?

This can be somewhat of a grey area since although there are competent person schemes within the electrical safety industry, membership of these is not deemed compulsory. This means you can choose to check whether the inspector you commission is part of a competent person scheme, or you can ask them to sign a checklist that certifies their competence by detailing their experience and insurance cover and that they are qualified to the standards set out in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations that the EICR is based on.

Who needs a copy of the report?

A copy of the report must be supplied to tenants. If there is already an existing tenant in the property, then the report should be supplied within 28 days of the inspection. Prospective tenants may also request a copy of the report which must be supplied within 28 days of the request. New tenants, meanwhile, should be given a copy of the report before beginning their tenancy.

The local authority may also request a copy, and you have seven days in which to reply to their request. You also need to keep hold of a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester at your next inspection.

What if work needs doing?

If the report shows that work is required to bring the electrical installations in your property up to standard, then the report will grade the work by a series of codes according to risk. You have a period of 28 days to complete the work and to notify your tenant via written confirmation that the work has been completed. If the report identifies dangerous risks, then more urgent action is needed. In this case, the report will set the timescale for the work which must be adhered to. 

What are the tell-tale signs that my electrics may need work?

Although the EICR inspection only needs to take place every five years, best practice suggests that you carry out annual electrical safety checks on your property to help identify any possible risks. Charity Electrical Safety First has produced a landlords interim checklist that covers risks such as whether the RCD trips on the fuse box when tested and whether sockets and lights are securely fixed, are in good condition and are not overloaded. If you do notice issues during these interim checks, then remedial work by a registered electrician must be carried out. Encourage your tenants to also report any issues to you – such as fuses tripping or flickering lights.

What penalties could I face if I don’t comply?

Failing to comply with the regulations will land you in hot water. A remedial notice requiring action can be served on you by your local authority if they believe you have breached your duties.

If you still fail to comply the local authority may complete the remedial work themselves, but they can recover the costs of doing so from you. Local authorities also have the right to impose a fine of up to £30,000 on landlords who fail to comply with their obligations.

If you're considering stepping into the realm of property investment and exploring the role of a landlord, expert guidance is a must. Our team at Phillip Mann is here to support you every step of the way. With a comprehensive suite of services tailored for landlords, including innovative options like our Advanced Rent Option, we're committed to helping you thrive in the rental market. Connect with us today to delve deeper into how we can assist you in making informed decisions and maximising your returns.

Mortgages and Conveyancing

Mortgages and Conveyancing

Need Independent Mortgage Advice? Want a Conveyancing Solicitor you can trust?

With over 3 decades of experience working with a wide range of property related service providers, we can help you find just the right professional to take great care of your property and finances.

Find out more today...

How Much is Your Property Worth?

How Much is Your Property Worth?

Not sure how much your property is worth? Request a free, no obligation valuation for your property.

Book a valuation