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.