Landlord Requirements For A 5-Year Electrical Test in the UK

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From 1 April 2021, landlords leasing property to tenants in the UK must produce an electrical safety certificate that verifies electrical installations have been tested by a NIC EIC approved contractor.

The new electrical safety regulations aimed at landlords state an Electrical Installation Condition Report[1]  (EICR) must be performed on rented properties every five years. 

The most recent copy must be given to new tenants within 28 days of them taking up residency in a rented property. A copy must also be lodged with the local authorities within 7 days of the inspection.

 A landlord’s electrical safety certificate proves the property has been thoroughly checked by a qualified electrician. It confirms that:

• No potential safety risks were identified

• Electrical works meet regulatory standards

• There are no electrical circuits or equipment that is overloaded or at risk of overheating

• Earthing and bonding has been performed on all electrical installations

Failing to produce a landlord electrical safety certificate could result in costly penalties. This short guide will help you to understand the importance of regular testing and explains the legal requirements you must meet.

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Why Electrical Testing is Important

When it comes to your home or property – regardless of whether you are a landlord or the homeowner – it’s important to test your electrical circuits are in good working condition. 

Whilst homeowners are not obligated to order an EICR, it is highly recommended your electrical installations are checked at least every 10 years. 

Landlords, on the other hand, are required by law to perform an EICR. This is perhaps an indication of how seriously the government takes electrical testing and safety. 

After all, your property’s electrical systems can be prone to deterioration over time; general wear and tear can have a big impact on how efficient the circuits operate and, of course, how safe your electrical installations are. 

What 5-Year Electrical Testing Involves

A 5-year electrical safety test involves performing a thorough inspection off your property’s electrical installations. Sockets, wiring, fuse boxes, light switches and appliances must meet British Standard BS 76719 (IET Wiring Regulations).

Visual Checks

A qualified electrician will look for any obvious signs of issues with your property’s electrical systems.

 This could be overloaded circuitry, exposed wiring and the condition of your light switches, sockets and cables. Scorch marks around electrical plates is a strong indication there might be a problem with the cabling.

During the visual check of your property, your electrician will also need to inspect the property’s residual current device. This needs to be monitored between the gardens and bathrooms of your property and is highly important for ensuring the safety of your property.

Visual checks should be performed regularly. You can do this yourself without having to wait for periodic electrical testing to be performed by a qualified professional.

Full Electrical Check

A full electrical check involves looking for any potential faults or risk factors with your property’s electrical installations.

This includes any potential risk of overheating, overloading, or other fire hazards in the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings, fuse boxes and permanently connected equipment such as electric boilers.

What is a Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate?

When the electrical network of a rented property is inspected, the building owner is awarded a landlord electrical safety certificate. These are known as Electrical Inspection Certificates (EIC).

The report provides information regarding:

• any deterioration of the electrical wiring and cabling, including any deterioration that doesn’t need replacing and fixing. These highlights may be important to consider during future electrical inspections and checks.

• damages and defects to your electrical systems, such as broken or snapped cables.

• any risk factors that either do not adhere to current safety standards or otherwise could pose a risk for tenants and neighbours.

What Happens When Your Property Doesn’t Pass the Periodic 5-Yearly Electrical Inspection?

In some instances, properties will fail an electrical safety inspection. As a landlord, you are responsible for ensuring the building is habitable for existing tenants or prospective tenants.

The defects are listed in the EICR and marked as “unsatisfactory” together with recommendations of the action to be taken before the property is deemed to meet the legal requirement for a landlord Electrical safety certificate.

Issues are flagged using the following codes:

• C1 – indicates an imminent danger is present and immediate action needs to be taken in order to remedy the problem.

• C2 – action may not need to be treated immediately, however, changes are still urgent and should be attended to within 7 days.

• C3 – improvements or changes are recommended although not absolutely necessary. This code will not fail the electrical safety inspection but serves as a warning. Local authorise could force action to be taken.

Penalties for Non-Compliance of 5-Year Electrical Testing

Landlords that neglect their obligations to provide a landlord electrical safety certificate can be issued with a penalty. Local authorities impose a range of financial penalties up to £30,000 depending on the scale of the building and the severity of the risk. 

• EICR marked with a C3 code, local authorise may serve a ‘remedial notice’ if they feel electrical installations could pose a potential safety risk before the next EICR is due.

• Landlords are given 28 days from the date of the remedial notice to rectify C3 defects.

• If remedial works are not undertaken within the recommended time, local authorities will organise for electrical work to be carried out with the permission of the tenants. The cost will be recovered from the landlord.

Final Thoughts 

It should be noted that a landlords safety certificate can only be awarded by a NIC EIC approved electrician. The technicians at LRG are fully-qualified and have many years of experience in performing electrical inspection condition reports. 

We also have a strong network of electricians near you that are able to carry out emergency operations or remedial work recommended by the local authority. 

Don’t risk unnecessary penalties and contact LRG Electrical today for an EICR quote.