As a landlord, you’re legally obliged to make sure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances you’ve supplied are safe throughout the tenancy.
So here’s a round-up of what checks need to be made and who should be making them. If we are fully managing your property for you, it is our responsibility to make sure the work is carried out by an appropriately qualified person and meets letting legal standards.
What checks are required?
Under The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, a full electrical inspection and test must be carried out at least once every five years – sooner if it was recommended on the previous report. This is to ensure the electrical systems and installations in your rental property are safe, properly installed and well maintained.
This requirement will also come into force in Wales from 15th July 2022, under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act, and it’s already law in Scotland to have the inspection before each new tenancy and then every five years during the tenancy.
Once the inspection and test has been completed, you will be issued with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR):
- A copy must be given to existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection and to new tenants before they move in
- The report must also be provided to whoever carries out the next inspection
- If any investigations or repairs are required, they must be completed with 28 days
- If the local council requests a copy, it must be provided within 7 days
Although it’s not currently a legal requirement in England to have portable appliance testing (PAT), it’s good practice to have any electrical items you’ve provided tested annually to make sure they’re safe for tenants to use. In Scotland, this must be carried out at least every 5 years along with the EICR.
Who can carry out the EICR inspection and test?
The regulations state that the electrical checks must be made by ‘a qualified and competent person’. That’s someone who has:
- Qualifications covering: (a) the current version of the wiring regulations and (b) the periodic inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations
- A minimum of two years’ experience in carrying out periodic inspection and testing
- Adequate insurance – at least £2m public liability and £250,000 professional indemnity
How do you find a qualified and competent person?
If we are not managing your property for you, the best route is to search the Registered Competent Person Electrical website. The electrical safety industry has various membership schemes that suitably qualified electricians can join and this website has a record of all electrical inspectors registered to undertake electrical safety reports in England and Wales.
Or you could go direct to NAPIT, one of the UK’s leading scheme providers, which has more than 16,000 members.
If someone has recommended an engineer or you’ve found someone yourself and they’re not a member of an industry scheme, then make sure you have them sign a document confirming that they have all the qualifications, experience and insurance as detailed above.
What should the engineer be doing during the inspection and test?
The engineer will assess the condition of the property’s electrical systems, check them against the current UK safety standards and evaluate how efficiently they’re working.
The specific checks they’ll perform include:
- Visual inspections to identify obvious faults, such as incorrect wiring or broken equipment
- ‘Dead’ testing for earth continuity, insulation resistance and polarity
- ‘Live’ testing to check how the system reacts if there’s a fault or an electric shock.
Be aware that they’ll need to disconnect the electrics from the mains power supply for some of these checks.
What happens if I don’t use a properly qualified and insured engineer?
If you don’t use a qualified and competent person to carry out the inspection and testing, you’re breaking the law because you’re in breach of the electrical safety regulations.
It’s important to understand that if the inspection and test wasn’t carried out correctly, it could put both the property and your tenants’ lives at risk. And if your engineer wasn’t properly insured, you could be left completely out of pocket in the case of any damage or injury arising from sub-standard work, because your own landlord insurance may be invalid.
As with all lettings legal breaches, your local authority can fine you up to £30,000. In the most serious cases, if you were prosecuted in court, the fine could be unlimited and you may even face jail, particularly if your negligence led to the injury or death of a tenant.
The benefits of being Fully Managed
All the contractors we use for periodical testing and maintenance work are properly qualified, experienced in working on rented properties and have appropriate insurance. So, if we manage your rental, you’ve got peace of mind that all electrical work is being carried out by the right professionals. We’ll also make sure test certificates are safely stored and copies are supplied to tenants and the local authority if required.
If you’d like to talk to us about our Fully Managed service, or if you’ve got any questions about electrical safety legal requirements, just get in touch with your local Your Move branch and one of the team will be delighted to help.