Are All Landlord Electrical Certificates Created Equally?
The simple answer to this is NO.
As a fully qualified electrician working in Coventry and Warwickshire we carry out a number of electrical checks to landlords and home owners. These checks are becoming increasingly popular and indeed they will become ‘mandatory’ within the rental sector in England and Wales. This means it will follow on from EPC’s becoming a legal requirement. And therefore without a current compliant safety certificate you will not be allowed to carry on renting your property. These reports are expected to last 5 years.
Fines For Non Compliance Are Expected To Be Substantial
It is understood that substantial penalties are likely to be introduced to those Landlords that ignore the new rules and regulations. On top of these new fines landlords may face prosecution in a magistrate’s court or even criminal prosecution.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ‘rogue landlords’ who could fall foul and fail to comply with the new laws. A lot of our customers in Coventry and Warwickshire are ‘Accidental Landlords’, that is, often where individuals end up renting a previous marital/family home or are left a property and see renting it out as a good financial move (which it is). However you end up renting a property, it will need to comply with various rules and regulations, not just electrical ones. Expert advice is recommended if you feel you need further assistance.
Who Can Carry Out These Tests?
There has long been discussions, even within the electrical industry of who can carry out these inspections. ‘Competent Person’ is the watch word and is to be replaced with ‘electrically trained’. Although that is still open to interpretation. Personally I would class an electrician with up to date qualifications, experience in electrical testing and relevant insurances as a person who is capable to test an installation.
Now Back To My Original Question, Are All Landlord Electrical Certificates Created Equally?
The answer is still NO.
The reason behind this is that there are in fact two types of an Electrical check/test/inspection/certificate call it what you will. There is a ‘Visual Inspection’. Which is exactly as it sounds, and does what is says on the tin! These checks would normally take no longer than an hour in a domestic property and they will cover only a handful of checks and are designed for ‘in-between’ tenants and play an important part in keeping tenants and your property safe. Unfortunately some electricians market these as a cheaper alternative to a full test and therefore can provide these substantially cheaper than a full test which is an attractive option to most ‘cash strapped landlords’ however they are not suitable for the rental market.
What is required is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This is a 9 -10 page document and can cover over 100 individual points within the electrical system. Testing is carried out at the fuse board/consumer unit and at the outlets and accessories across the property. The report would typically come with a full list of recommendations and observations. Faults and observation are typically coded from C1 to C3. C1 being ‘Danger Present, C2 ‘Potentially Dangerous’ & C3 ‘Improvement Recommended’. A report with C1 or C2’s present would be classed as ‘UNSATISFACTORY’ and these are often identified with photographic images showing the defects. If the report comes back with C1’s & C2’s these would have to be rectified before a ‘SATISFACTORY’ report could be issued. Where a report with C3’s are present, this would enable a ‘SATISFACTORY’ outcome.
As you might imagine the ‘Full EICR’ would take longer to carry out and therefore would cost more to produce. Please don’t be put off by the slightly higher price when it comes to electrical safety. When you’re potentially standing in front of £3,000 a day barrister trying to answer questions and your reply is ‘I didn’t know or I was trying to save money’ you may probably regret going down the cheaper route.
At Electrical Experts all of our EICR’s are produced digitally and can be easily sent, re-sent if you lose it (often happens) and are securely stored. We attach images and photo’s to accompany all C1 & C2 observations within the report and an easy traffic light system showing the highlighted areas that need addressing. A copy of the report should be left in the property so your tenants are aware of the condition of the electrical system. We carry dozens of these tests out a month to the landlord rental industry and are confident that each time we leave a customer’s property following any remedial work that may need addressing we leave it in a significantly safer position.