New electrical safety regulations for rental properties in England came into force in June 2020 and have applied to all tenancies since April 2021.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the rules and regulations and what you’ll need to do if your rental property’s electrical installations don’t meet the required standards.
What is an EICR certificate?
EICR stands for Electrical Installation Condition Report and is an assessment of your property’s electrical installations.
When you have an EICR carried out, you won’t receive a certificate.
Instead, you’ll be given a report outlining whether your property’s electrical installations are satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
When you have an EICR carried out, your assessor will look for:
- Potential fire hazards caused by faulty electrics
- Any risk of electric shock
- A lack of adequate earthing
- Overloaded circuits
What is the law on EICR?
EICR laws in England means all private landlords must:
- Have an EICR carried out at least every five years
- Obtain a report from the assessor carrying out the inspection, which will outline the results and when the next inspection is due
- Supply a copy of the report to all tenants within 28 days of the inspection
- Supply a copy of the report to the local authority within seven days of their request to see it
- Keep a copy of the report and supply it to the assessor during the next inspection
- Supply copies of the report to any new tenants before they move in and to any other tenant requesting a copy within 28 days of their request
Is an EICR mandatory?
EICRs are mandatory for most privately rented properties in England, including Houses in Multiple Occupation.
Some tenancies are excluded from the regulations, including:
- Those where the landlord is providing privately registered social housing
- Those where the tenant shares occupancy with the landlord
- Long lease tenancies of more than seven years
- Dedicated student accommodation
- Hostels, refuges, care homes, hospices, and hospitals
New build properties, meanwhile, come with Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) and won’t require an EICR to be legally rented out until five years after the EIC was issued.
If your rental property has been rewired, you should also have an EIC, meaning you won’t require an EICR for five years.
What are the punishments for not complying with EICR rules?
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing fines of up to £30,000 if a property is found to be in breach of the EICR regulations.
What is checked during an EICR?
During an EICR inspection, your assessor will test all fixed parts of the property’s electrical installations, including:
- Sockets and switches
- Light fittings
- Fuse boxes
- Permanent electrical equipment like showers and extractor fans
EICRs don’t include:
- Cookers and hobs
- Items like toasters, kettles, and other kitchen appliances
What will the EICR report tell me?
Your EICR will grade your property’s electrical installations and highlight any remedial work that is required.
On the report, you’ll see four categories of assessment:
- C1 – danger to life, immediate action required
- C2 – potential danger, urgent action required
- FI – Further investigation needed
- C3 – No danger, but improvements recommended
A C1, C2 or FI assessment means the electrical installations are unsatisfactory and remedial work is required to bring your property up to standard.
A C3 assessment means no remedial work is needed and a satisfactory EICR will be issued alongside further recommendations.
What happens if my property fails an EICR?
If your property’s electrical installations are assessed as C1 or C2, your assessor will highlight the remedial work required to bring it up to standard.
Remedial work must be carried out within 28 days of the initial report, or within a different time frame if specified.
Once the work has been carried out by a qualified person, you must get written confirmation from them that the work meets the standards.
That confirmation must be given to all tenants and the local authority within 28 days and alongside a copy of the original EICR.
Do I need a new EICR for every new tenancy?
EICRs remain valid for five years and aren’t required for every new tenancy.
You can supply a valid EICR from tenancy to tenancy and are only required to have a new inspection carried out once every five years.
Who can carry out an EICR?
EICRs must be carried out by a qualified and competent person.
This means the inspector should be:
Part of a competent person scheme, or
Be able to self-certify competence through experience, insurance and qualifications covering wiring regulations, inspection, and testing of electrical installations
How much does an EICR cost?
The cost of an EICR will depend on the size of your rental property and ranges from £125 to more than £300.
The age of the wiring in your property can also affect the cost.
The cost includes the hiring of a competent electrician to carry out the inspection and the inspection itself.
Any remedial work required in the event of an unsatisfactory report will cost more.