New EICR Rules: Electrical Checks Become Mandatory for Rented Property from 1st April 2021


Landlords with properties in England will need to conduct an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in order to let their English properties from 1st July 2020. The requirement will extend to all tenancies in England from 1st April 2021.

The First EICR Deadline: 1st July 2020

An Electrical Installation Condition Report must be acquired before the commencement of any new tenancy from 1st July 2020. The checks ensure that all electrical installations in the property, such as light fixtures and electrical sockets, are safe before the tenant moves in. Properties that pass the EICR will keep the certification for five years. When the EICR expires, a new one will need to be obtained. 

Landlords must supply a copy to each tenant within 28 days of the inspection. They must also retain a copy so that they can supply one to their local authority if asked, and also so they can supply one to the next assessor when the time comes to renew their report. Landlords must also supply a copy of the most recent report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of it being requested in writing. 

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Penalties for Not Having an EICR

From 1st July, landlords who fail to conduct an EICR (and any work it recommends) before a new tenancy commences will face a fine of up to £30,000. Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new rules, as specified under the Housing Act 2004. 

Local authorities can also arrange remedial action if repairs and improvements recommended in the reports are not made. After receiving a notice of remedial action, landlords will have 28 days to have the work undertaken, unless it is an urgent notice. A shorter timeframe may be given in this case.

What If My Property Failed the Checks?

If the report requires the landlord to make repairs to ensure the safety of the property, then these repairs must be made by a qualified person (e.g. an electrician) within 28 days, unless the report specifies the work must be performed sooner. 

The qualified person must then provide the landlord with written confirmation, either that the safety standards are now met, or that further work is required. This written confirmation must then be supplied to each tenant within 28 days of the initial work being completed. It must also be provided, along with a copy of the original report to the local housing authority within 28 days of the further work. 

The Second EICR Deadline: 1st April 2021

From 1st April 2021, the above rules will apply to all tenancies. That means that landlords must ensure they have an EICR performed for all their properties in England by this date, and then serve the tenants with a copy of the report within 28 days. As above, if work is recommended in the report, then it must be performed. 

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EICR Rules in Scotland and Wales

Similar rules have existed in Scotland since 2015. From 1st December 2015 landlords have been required under sections 13(4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to ensure that regular electrical safety inspections are carried out by a competent person.

The electrical safety inspection has two separate elements. Firstly, an EICR on the safety of the electrical installations, fixtures and fittings. Secondly, a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) on portable appliances.

The EICR must be carried out by a competent person. This means that they must be employed by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body. In Scotland, this will usually mean that they are a registered with NICEIC or a member firm of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT).

Wales currently has no requirements for landlords to arrange EICRs, but landlords remain responsible for ensuring the safety of let properties, and therefore obtaining an EICR every five years is strongly recommended.

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Notable Replies

  1. Hi Sam, it’s ironic that a property built in 2018 has a new build electrical installation certificate yet I have to pay again to have a landlord certificate!
    Hannah

  2. Thank you Sam,
    I also checked with the NRLA Members Advice Line. They advised the same basic rule that you only need to have a valid one in place rather than do a new test at the start of each new tenancy.

    NRLA qualified the periodic tenancy further. They said that by law a rolled over periodic tenancy is considered to be a new tenancy when the initial tenancy agreement just lapses into a periodic tenancy. They said the law changed about 3 years ago to say this and that’s why they rewrote their Tenancy Agreements to include a ‘Contractual’ clause. This states explicitly that when the initial agreement term finishes it will become a Periodic Tenancy, as opposed to allowing it to naturally roll into one without any mention of it. The tenancy then becomes known as a Contractual Periodic Tenancy. NRLA say this would then be seen in the eyes of the law as a continuing tenancy rather than a new tenancy. For a non-contractual periodic tenancy the landlord would need to reissue all the compliancy documents that a new tenant would require, even though they received them a year earlier, including the latest government How To Rent guide.

    On the ‘reinspect after 3 years’ question. The NRLA said that the law states the EICR has to be normally done every 5 years. The adviser said that if the re-test date on the current EICR is only a Recommended date (which it is on my form) and there are no issues raised in the comments section of the form (which there weren’t) then the re-test deadline for me is 5 years not 3.

    What do you feel about the NRLA advice above?

  3. Ollie2,

    I don’t believe the rules say that.

    I believe it says you have to have an active one (younger than 5 years) in place for each existing tenancy so even a 4 year old one at that stage would be fine. It does not say you have to have a new one done by April 2021. It does however say the landlord must ensure the electrics are in compliance with the latest (18th) version of the regulations.

    I agree with your two comments “More work for the boys I suppose. More red tape to catch the little fish out.”

    I had my last EICR professionally arranged through OpenRent in July 2019. As the 18th version of the regulations became law in January 2019 I felt confident that I would be OK. However, I checked my EICR report today and discovered it had only been certified against the old (17th) regulations. I’ve queried it with OpenRent as it can’t be right that their testing company was issuing EICRs against old regulations. You should check yours.

    So with only a 3 year EICR being issued and against old regulations that’s a pretty good way of generating extra re-test business.

    Evany

  4. Avatar for Sam Sam says:

    Hi Hannah, This sounds like a complex situation and I don’t have all the answers I’m afraid.

    My best understanding is that all properties being let post 2021 will need an EICR. If the report makes recommendations, then those recommendations must be performed in the time frame outlined in the guide. If they are not, then the landlord will not be compliant with the new rules.

    It seems that the EICR rules are principally about the safety of tenants. Therefore, it being hard/inconvenient/time consuming to get work recommended by the EICR performed should not be a valid excuse, since the idea is that properties which are not safe should not be let at all.

    No one yet knows, however, how this new rule will be enforced in practice, and what rationales will be accepted as valid reasons for not having recommended work performed. There are some government requirements which landlords are able to give good reasons for not performing; for example if you are unable to arrange a gas safety check during the pandemic because the tenant is unable to allow people into their property. The advice there is to document your attempts at having the work performed so you can prove you weren’t neglecting you duties as a landlord.

    Wishing you the best in resolving this situation,
    Sam

  5. Avatar for Sam Sam says:

    Hi,

    A renewal is indeed a new tenancy. But you don’t need a new EICR every new tenancy, just every 5 years.

    Sam

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