Landlord’s Legal Requirements:
Anyone who lets residential accommodation (such as houses, flats and bedsits, holiday homes, caravans and boats) as a business activity is required by law to ensure the equipment they supply as part of the tenancy is safe.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 requires that all mains electrical equipment (cookers, washing machines, kettles, etc), new or second-hand, supplied with the accommodation must be safe. Landlords therefore need to regularly maintain the electrical equipment they supply to ensure it is safe.
The supply of goods occurs at the time of the tenancy contract. It is, therefore, essential that property is checked prior to the tenancy to ensure that all goods supplied are in a safe condition. A record should be made of the goods supplied as part of the tenancy agreement and of checks made on those goods. The record should indicate who carried out the checks and when they did it.
It is strongly advisable to have the equipment checked before the start of each let. It would be good practice to have the equipment checked at regular intervals thereafter. You should obtain and retain test reports detailing the equipment, the tests carried out and the results.
General Legal Requirements:
The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self employed.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states:
“Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of:
- (a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work, and
- (b) the risks to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking.”
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states:
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
The PUWER 1998 covers most risks that can result from using work equipment. With respect to risks from electricity, compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is likely to achieve compliance with the PUWER 1998.
PUWER 1998 only applies to work equipment used by workers at work. This includes all work equipment (fixed, transportable or portable) connected to a source of electrical energy. PUWER does not apply to fixed installations in a building. The electrical safety of these installations is dealt with only by the Electricity at Work Regulations.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states:
“All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
“‘System’ means an electrical system in which all the electrical equipment is, or may be, electrically connected to a common source of electrical energy and includes such source and such equipment.”
“‘Electrical Equipment’ includes anything used, intended to be used or installed for use, to generate, provide, transmit, transform, rectify, convert, conduct, distribute, control, store, measure or use electrical energy.”
Scope of the legislation
It is clear that the combination of the HSW Act 1974, the PUWER 1998 and the EAW Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.
It is clear that there is a requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations.
In general, there are two types of domestic electrical installation condition report:
Visual condition report – this does not include testing and is only suitable if the installation has been tested recently.
Projected cost of a Visual electrical inspection are from £60.00 + VAT
Periodic inspection reports – this is what we would normally recommend, as it tests the installation and would find any hidden damage.
Projected cost of a Period inspection or EICR are from £130.00 + VAT
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Is an EICR a legal requirement?
Since 1st April 2021 all tenancies in England have required a valid EICR. Landlords must supply a copy of a valid EICR to all tenants at the beginning of the tenancy, when issuing a new contract (including renewals), and also to any prospective tenant, if asked, within 28 days of receiving a written request.
What is EICR for?
What is the meaning of an EICR? EICR stands for ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’. It was previously known as ‘Fixed Wire Testing’. An EICR is when your electrical installations are tested by a ‘skilled’ person to ensure they are safe and they will not cause any fire risks or electric shocks.
Is EICR mandatory for landlords?
As a landlord, you will be responsible for arranging a landlord electrical safety certificate for each property you own. From 1 April 2021, you will need a landlord electrical safety certificate (also known as an EICR certificate) for your property if you don’t already have one.
How long does an EICR check take?
It is generally recommended that an EICR is carried out every five years (five for privately rented properties) or when there is a change of occupancy in a dwelling. Typically an EICR will take around 2 – 4 hours to complete, depending on the size of a property and the number of circuits requiring testing.
Condition Reports explained
You cannot see electricity. Cables are usually hidden inside our walls, and consumer units are often hidden in cupboards, so it is not surprising that we forget to check the condition of our electrical installation for damage or wear and tear.
Faulty and old wiring is one of the main causes of electrical fires in the home. You can reduce the risk of a fire by checking the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories regularly.
How old is my electrical installation?
Clear signs that can help you tell the age of equipment in the electrical installation in your home include:
- Fixed cables coated in black rubber (stopped being used in the 1960s).
- Fixed cables coated in lead or fabric (used before the 1960s).
- A fuse box with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a mixture of fuse boxes (used before the 1960s).
- Older round pin sockets (or light switches), braided flex hanging from ceiling roses, brown (or black) switches, or sockets mounted in or no skirting boards (used before the 1960s).
- Light switches on the walls or in bathrooms (used before the 1960s).
- However old your electrical installation is, it may get damaged and will suffer from wear and tear. So you should get an electrician to check its condition at least every 10 years or when you move into a new property.
What is the aim of an electrical installation condition report?
The five main aims of an electrical installation condition report are:
- Record the results of the inspection and testing to make sure the electrical installation is safe to be used until the next inspection (following any work needed to make it safe)
- Find any damage and wear and tear that might affect safety, and report it
- Find any parts of the electrical installation that do not meet the IET Wiring Regulations
- Help find anything that may cause electric shocks and high temperatures
- Provide and important record of the installation at the time of the inspection, and for inspection testing in the future.