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Electrical Installations in Rental Properties

Posted by nikunjp on 1st February 2019
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The government have announced that landlords will be required to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out on all rental properties. The date of when this will become a requirement has yet to be announced however the expectation is that it will be later this year.

Landlords will be required by law to have what is called an Electrical Installation Condition Report (fixed wiring test) completed on all rental properties. The requirement will be initially introduced for all new tenancies and will later to expand to include all tenancies.  This will require a competent person to test the complete installation.  This includes the actual cabling, sockets etc in the property.

A fixed wiring test is normally valid for up to 5 years or at the change of tenancy.  In reality, if nothing has changed in regards to the installation, industry practice suggests that one doesn’t need to be completed at the change of tenancy.  What is being suggested, is that someone checks sockets and fittings etc to ensure there is no damage and all appears in working order at the change of a tenancy.

Although not law as yet, we have always recommended having a fixed wiring test to be completed.  Many of you will already have this in place with properties that we manage, if you don’t, we will arrange them when required or if you request us to arrange this.  A fixed wiring test may throw up something which means that the installation is not satisfactory and may require remedial works.  This is not to say that existing / old installation needs to be replaced with new consumer units or cabling , but some remedial work may be required.  Depending on each circumstance, it is my opinion that a change of consumer unit to meet modern standards is more cost effective in the long run and will provide a safer installation protecting the tenant and you from any liability in the event of an incident.

An example where the consumer unit is not satisfactory is if there is no RCD protection on lighting circuits in a special location (bathroom).  You can have some remedial work completed to get a “pass”, but I would suggest that this would be not be the preferred solution, although it would be consider safe.  Another example is if there is no RCD protection on sockets that are used for outside equipment.  A solution would be to provide the tenant with an RCD plug.  The problem is then documenting this and having provided an RCD plug, ensuring that it is used.

My experience with electricians is that some of these potential issues are considered a matter of opinion and can be interrupted in different ways.  I have always erred on the side of caution.  If you use a local electrician / one provided by another agent, please check their credentials thoroughly.

Please see a link below on the gov.uk website and an article on the BBC website.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47056406

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/housing-minister-tightens-up-rules-on-electrical-safety-to-better-protect-renters

A link to the government consultation document can be found below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/electrical-safety-in-the-private-rented-sector

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