If you own buy to let property in Scotland or an HMO anywhere in the UK, you’ll be familiar with the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). However, the legislation around this report is changing in England, and all landlords need to take note.
You may remember that as of the 1st July 2020, it became a legal requirement for all rental properties to have a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) before a new tenancy began. As of 1st April 2021, it is now legally required that all buy to let properties have had a professional inspection and have a valid EICR certificate.
What is an EICR?
Essentially, it is an MOT for the electrics in your buy to let properties. It is an in-depth inspection that covers all electrical outlets, wiring and units and grades them against a national standard. A qualified electrician must complete it.
The new legislation, which makes the inspection and certification a legal requirement, is designed to help protect your tenants, your property and surrounding properties from danger, such as electrical fires which can be caused by outdated or faulty wiring.
How do EICR’s work?
A suitably qualified electrician must complete the inspection. If the inspector finds any faults in your buy to let property, they will code them 1-3:
C1: Immediate action is required as the fault poses a likely risk of injury. The fault needs to be fixed or made safe immediately by the inspecting electrician.
C2: The fault is ‘potentially dangerous’ and needs to be fixed urgently. The inspecting electrician can issue a quote for the work but will need to return soon to complete it.
C3: The issue is deemed safe; however, improvements are recommended. A C3 fault is the only code you can have on an EICR report and still pass.
If an inspection flags up issues that need addressing, you are required (as a landlord) to arrange to fix them. Failure to rectify the identified faults within 28 days can result in the local authority organising emergency work on your behalf, for which you will have to foot the bill!
Furthermore, failure to complete an EICR before the beginning of a new tenancy can now land you with a £30,000 fine from your local authority!
What gets tested?
Your inspector should check that the fuse board complies with current regulations, that everything is correctly earthed to prevent potential electrical shocks and that all sockets, switches and any included electrical accessories (such as white goods) are correctly installed.
How much does an EICR cost?
The cost of an EICR inspection depends on the size of your buy to let property. A one-bedroom flat is likely to cost around £160 whereas a five-bedroomed property could be around £250. As it’s a thorough inspection, it will take your electrician time to do properly. Although this is an extra cost to consider in the upkeep of your buy to let property, it is designed to reduce costs incurred by damage to people and property in the long run.
How often do you need to get an EICR?
The recommendation is to have the property inspected every five years or with each new tenancy, whichever occurs first.
If you’d like more information or need finance to help pay for essential works, do get in touch with me, Luke Worrell on 01732 471684 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to talk through your options.
Updated May 2021.
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