As if Walsall landlords and landlords across the country don’t have enough to contend with, new rules on Electrical Inspection Condition Reports (EICR) has kicked in from this month.
In my day job at Ashmore Lettings & Sales, historically we have always advised landlords to conduct this check to obtain a condition report. Therefore, most of our clients are already ahead of the game. I have to admit, explaining this to some landlords has been an uphill battle especially, when my colleagues in the industry dissuaded many Walsall landlords to not obtain an EICR.
Here’s an overview of the changes:
- Every fixed electrical installation in a private rental property must be inspected and comply with the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations.
- This kicks in on July 1, 2020, for new tenancies and April 1, 2021, for existing tenancies.
- Inspections must be carried out every five years or the date on the certificate, by a “qualified person” (more on that in a minute).
- If a problem is identified in the EICR, work to remedy it must be done within 28 days (or less if it’s urgent). Landlords need written confirmation that the work has been completed.
- A copy of the electrical safety report must be supplied to a tenant before they move into the property. If an inspection is carried out during a tenancy, a copy of the report should be provided to the tenant within 28 days of its completion.
What does “qualified mean?” I hear you say
This will be clarified in the guidance. But it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t mean a mate’s brother’s ex-flatmate who likes watching DIY SOS. Industry insiders interpret it to mean an electrician with Electrotechnical Assessment Specifications qualifications. So, a professional with an industry recognised apprenticeship or Level 3 Certificates in Installing, Testing and Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings.
What if a landlord fails to comply?
It’s going to hurt. Breach the new rules and face a fine of up to £30,000.
This all sounds complicated
Responsible landlords who keep their properties in good condition probably won’t get any nasty surprises. The rogue ones might be in for a shock though.
Tips from a sparky
If it’s too good to be true…
It probably is. If someone offers to inspect for next to nothing, ask yourself: ‘what’s in it for them?’ Saleh has heard of some electricians planning to use the EICR process as a loss leader. What they lose in carrying out the inspection, they plan to make up by diagnosing and carrying out expensive repair works.
Now most electricians are good people and wouldn’t do this. But be aware that the cheapest price doesn’t always represent the best value.
Are they registered?
Word of mouth
Ideally, you’re looking for an electrician who is registered with one of the above organisations and has a glowing reputation in Walsall. So, seek out word of mouth recommendations.
“A good letting agent will have built up business relationships with reliable tradespeople including electricians, so ask them for advice,” says Saleh.
“It’s much better – and less stressful – to go with someone you can trust.”
If you already have an existing tenancy agreement, April 1, might seem like a long way off. But as this deadline looms, electricians will be in hot demand, especially good ones.
Also remember that if you need to get remedial works done, this will take time. Give yourself a little bit of breathing space to ensure any last-minute panic and avoid looking like an April Fool next year.
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