Your essential guide to understanding the EICR

There have been a number of recent changes in the legislation surrounding the EICR, or Electrical Installation Condition Report. If you are a property owner and are keen to learn more about these changes and how they might affect you then have a read of our helpful electrical safety certificate guide!

Knowing the regulations and your obligations

As already mentioned, there have been numerous recent changes which concern the rental property side of electrical certificate legislation. Therefore, it is very important that you are aware of all of the changes and ensure that you are fully compliant. 

The first change came into force on June 1st 2020. From this date forward, all landlords who wish to start a new tenancy agreement, renew existing tenancies or have a change of tenancy, will be required by law to produce a ‘satisfactory’ EICR Report before any tenants can move in or a tenancy be renewed.

The second change in regulation applies to landlords with tenants already in place. These landlords will also be required to provide a satisfactory electrical safety certificate, however, the deadline for this scenario is set for April 1st 2021

For those looking to sell a property, current regulations state that you are not required to provide a report. However, it should be known that it is common practice for a buyer’s solicitor to request a history of maintenance so already having a report helps to save you time.

Fit and proper persons

The electrical certificate inspection must be undertaken by a fit and proper person. In most cases this will be a fully qualified and approved electrician. They need to be registered with one of the government approved scheme providers, which will ensure that they are compliant with the latest safety standards for issuing an EICR – the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) 18th Edition. 

Some of the most commonly known accreditation bodies are NICEIC, Stroma, Napit and Elecsa. It is highly recommended that ask the electrician which of the approved schemes they are approved by, along with their ID and registration number. You can then verify these details by cross checking them on the website of the accrediting body. If you are having doubts about the qualifications of the electrician do not let them start working on your property. 

Does age matter?

It is a common misconception that if you have a modern property, that you are not required to get an EICR. This is not the case – regardless of how old your property is, you are legally required to have an electrical safety certificate report undertaken. The same applies for older properties that have had upgrades or even a full rewiring. Having an upgraded system, or one that has not given any issues, does not exempt you from your obligations. 

Obviously, those with a modern property, or an upgraded installation, have higher chances that the property will produce a satisfactory report without the need for any remedial works, however, this still needs to be confirmed and certified by the inspector.  

How to handle failure

Unless you have a modern property or an upgraded installation, there is a chance that your property may not meet the current requirements. Safety standards are regularly changed in order to ensure that safety requirements are held to a good standard. If your engineer finds faults in the system and deems any part to be unsafe then they will mark the installation as ‘unsatisfactory’.

If your property does not meet the current EICR requirements, the report is classed as ‘unsatisfactory’ and you will need to carry out remedial works in order to bring the installation to the required level. Any ‘unsatisfactory’ results will be accompanied by comments as to which part failed, and why. 

Where remedial works are required, they are is classified with the following codes:

  • C1 – ‘danger is present’ and there is a likely risk of injury – immediate action is required.
  • C2 – potentially dangerous issues with remedial action needed urgently.
  • C3 – there are improvements to the system recommended. However, if you have a C3 code in your report still pass and be granted an electrical installation certificate.

When an ‘unsatisfactory’ report is returned, you need to have a fit and proper person either perform the works or investigate further within 28 days. As soon as this is done, your engineer must confirm in writing that the standards are now being met or that further remedial work is needed. As soon as you have a ‘satisfactory’ report, you then have a further 28 days to provide a copy of the EICR report to your tenants and your local authority. 

Penalties for failing to comply with the legislation are strong. Your local authority can enforce penalties of up to £30,000 per breach!

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