Faulty or hazardous electrical appliances, wires and systems are the cause of many house fires every year.
Fortunately, there are ways of being proactive for your home or for your tenant’s property: one important way is the electrical safety certificate, or the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). The certificate is issued after a thorough inspection of a property’s electrical systems and posits whether repairs are needed.
Don’t wait! Put the safety of your tenants first and arrange to get an electrical safety certificate today. Continue reading to learn about the legal requirements for safety certificates, EICR costs and the steps you need to take to have an electrical system inspection for your own home to get a certificate.
About the new legal requirements as of June 2020
Electrical safety certificates have always been highly recommended in the United Kingdom for domestic properties for safety reasons. As of June 2020, they are now a legal requirement every time there is a change of tenants on your rental property.
If you are a landlord, be aware that prospective and current renters or property buyers and sellers and local authorities may ask for proof a particular property has an EICR. If asked, you are legally obligated to provide proof of a valid safety certificate within a particular time frame, which is within 28 days for tenants or prospective tenants and within 7 days for local authorities.
Once issued, an EICR is valid for five years. Keep in mind that safety certificates can take some time to obtain with the appointment bookings, inspections, report releases and repairs, if needed: if yours will expire within the next six months, it’s worth arranging for a new one as soon as you can.
Getting an electrical safety certificate for your home or business
When arranging to get an EICR, it’s vital to contact a qualified electrician for the task as only they can issue the certificate. It’s always a good idea for you and your tenants to keep an eye out for your electrical appliances and systems to ensure everything is running smoothly, but, even if you are knowledgeable, you cannot issue the certificate unless you are an electrician by profession.
To get the certificate, a qualified electrician will come to your property to carry out an inspection. During the inspection, the electrician will conduct some of the following checks, including but not limited to:
- A quick visual inspection of the property to identify any obvious issues with the building’s electrical system
- An examination of fuse boxes, plugs and electrical sockets, and electrical system lightings
- An inspection of light fixtures and fittings
- A check of equipment connected to the electric system, such as radiators and extractor fans
After the inspection and subsequent assessment are complete, the electrician will send you the electrical safety certificate, either in paper form or electronically. If the electrician identifies any serious issues with the property’s electrical systems, they will specify potential and current issues in the certificate. If the problems are urgent, you are legally obligated to follow the electrician’s recommendations to repair or otherwise restore the systems. These repairs will be charged separately from the certificate itself, so be sure to plan ahead!
Keep in mind that the inspection will not include the property’s appliances, though the electrician may be able to examine them for an additional fee. While technically not required for the issuing of the certificate itself, it’s still important to keep an eye on you and your tenant’s electrical appliances in use! Be in touch with your tenants to see if they feel any particular appliances should be inspected before bringing in an electrician for the inspection.
Understanding Your Electrical Safety Certificate
Your new EICR will come with a code indicating the current state of your property’s electrical systems, and will indicate whether the property’s electrical systems were “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” according to UK law.
The codes —and what they mean for you — are as follows:
Unsatisfactory EICR codes:
C1: Immediate danger and risk of injury from electrical systems are present. Immediate repair work is required.
C2: Potential safety risks have been identified. Urgent remedial action must be taken.
FI: Further investigation is needed
Satisfactory EICR Codes:
C3: Improvements recommended
If you receive a C1 or C2 code on your electrical safety certificate, it is urgent that you and your electrician act immediately to address the cited safety issues, as the situation may become dangerous without some kind of repair work.
Otherwise, an electrician’s recommendations can be followed up as you are able. In some cases, the C3 code may mean the electrical systems are in good shape, but are simply up to an older code and are out of date. The recommendations are tailored to your property, which means they can help you plan repairs and other updates to your electrical system as needed.
Do I need an electrical safety certificate for my own home?
No, an EICR is not required for your own home, assuming you are not renting it out to anyone and do not plan on selling it in the near future. It may be a good idea to get one every five to ten years, however, to ensure your property’s electrical systems are in good condition.
If you are looking only to ensure that electrical appliances are in good condition, it may instead be worth considering conducting a PAT test.
The price of a safety certificate can depend on several factors, including the age and overall state of the property. An EICR for an older property, for example, may cost more simply due to the increased time needed for the inspection.
Overall, you can expect to pay about £100-150 for the certificate. While this cost does include the inspection and certificate issuing itself, you are also paying for the electrician’s expertise. There is no set cost for an EICR, which means it may be worth comparing prices between professionals in your area.
In the case that you must complete repairs, they will be a separate expense. Plan ahead: if the electrician says you must follow certain procedures to ensure the property is safe to use and live in, you are legally required to follow up and conduct the required repairs with your own finances.
Are there exemptions?
There are some properties exempt from the legal requirements for electrical safety certificates, including long-term leases (7+ years) and social housing, such as residence halls and hostels. Generally, private landlords should assume the legal requirements for the electrical safety certificate applies to them.
If you think an exemption may apply to you, confirm with your local authorities before foregoing one: fines for not having an EICR when required can be up to £5,000 for first offences and even £30,000 for repeat violations of the law.
Looking to get a certificate? Try our website today!
Looking for a qualified electrician to help you get an EICR? It can be a little daunting finding a professional to take care of your property, especially if you are new to an area or have had poor services from home-improvement professionals in the past.
That’s where our website can be of help for you and your tenants. We have connections to professionals in your area on our website, where you can read and write reviews, find the relevant contact information, and get a quote for any home improvement project.
Try it today and take the next step towards ensuring you and your tenants have peace of mind when it comes to electrical safety in their home!