Electrical Safety Certificate – The Responsibility Imposed on Landlords

Are you planning to sell your house? If yes, then this blog post has something crucial that can help you make a better bargain in the market. You are perhaps aware that a missing EIC or Electrical Installation Certificate can prove to be a roadblock in closing the deal on time after you have found a buyer. Is there a technique to avoid this unnecessary delay? In this blog post we will explore your options if you already have electrical work done but do not have the EIC.

But first let us explore the legal aspect of the matter and see what the rulebook says.

Understanding the legal aspect

As per the Part P of Building Regulations as introduced by the government, all electrical work in residential properties across England and Wales must be completed to a safe standard. The work must also facilitate safe maintenance as well as alterations in the course of future. In order to make sure that all electrical works meet a safe standard it is important to certify every work with an EIC which is to be submitted to local authorities. But there is no need of certification for basic works like fixing a tripped fuse. But an EIC is required in any of the following conditions –

  • Installation of a new circuit – like wiring for a new extension
  • Alterations made into an existing circuit, example – kitchens are commonly rewired
  • Electrical works carried out in certain parts of your home – like the bathroom, kitchen or exteriors – that come under additional regulations

An EIC has to be filed within a span of 30 days from the work being completed with the local authority. If you do not have a copy of the EIC you can see it and even order online. Electrical works that are uncertified are considered a breach of local authority regulations. The local authorities can even compel you to remove or alter the works. Moreover, it can also impose a fine.

Why does a missing EIC spell dampening for potential buyers? As per law the new owner of the property automatically inherits all these pending obligations. Moreover, in the absence of an EIC there is no assurance that the work that has already been done is safe. Often it has been found that selling a property without proper EIC documentation turns out to be difficult.

Are there no realistic solutions to overcome the roadblock? Thankfully there are solutions to get out of this mess. The solutions include the following –

  • Redo the EIC – if you fail tracking down the certificate or if you think the electrician never handed you one – in either circumstance you should get back to the electrician. The electrician can complete the EIC for the work and give it to you or can redo the work and issue a fresh EIC. In either way your problem is solved.
  • Get an EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report – if you cannot reach out to your previous electrician, appoint a certified electrician to carry out an EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report instead. Although an EICR is not a substitute for an EIC but it is sufficient to assure potential buyers and secure their trust. Even the local buildings department are likely to accept the EICR instead of the EIC, as evidence that the work has been done in compliance with the regulations.
  • The policy of indemnity – you can also offer an indemnity policy to potential buyers. This a popular strategy and this works out things faster. By virtue of this policy the new owner is protected from any expense that may arise on account of the missing EIC. The policy will not check the warranty to safety or the condition of the existing electrics.

An Electrical Safety Certificate – what is it?

An Electrical Safety Certificate is a document that qualifies electrical safety along with compliance aspect of your home or invested property. It is issued only by a registered and certified electrician. The document is issued following an EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report carried out on a property. It is important to note that Electrical Safety Certificate must be kept updated and fresh inspections are mandatory every 5 years.

Why is an Electrical Safety Certificate important?

As per the provisions in the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, an Electrical Safety Certificate is a crucial legal obligation of landlords to keep their rented properties safe and fit. The legislation is meant to ensure that privately rented properties are safe for habitation throughout the tenure of a tenancy.

Gas and electrical safety are both extremely crucial for every household. More than 10% incidents of house fires in the UK some electrical faults or the other are found responsible. When electrical installations are ignored and left neglected and uninspected for long, it raises the chance of circumstances like exposed wiring, overloaded outlets, outdated appliance and others that lead to electrical fire.

About the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2021

The legislation makes electrical safety inspections at regular intervals mandatory for all private rented properties. The safety inspection has to be carried out by a registered electrician. Every private landlord has to comply with the regulation as latest as by April 1, 2021. The result of the test is to be shared with the tenant occupying the property within a span of 28 days. If the local buildings department asks for then a landlord also has to share a copy of the report with the statutory body within 7 days from the date of request. Last but nevertheless the least, a copy of the same is to be retained by the landlord as reference to the electrician for the next test.

What does an Electrical Safety Certificate emphasis upon?

An Electrical Safety Certificate contains detailed report of all the checks that are made including the deficiencies as well as potential issues related to electrical safety in a given property. Moreover, the report includes in detail recommended corrective measures if any that landlords will have to get done and improvements that landlords may pursue to keep their rented properties electrically safe.

Cost involved

The cost of Electrical Safety Certificate varies from case to case. It depends on many factors including the size and age of a property, the number of circuits and sockets to be checked. The cost is as reasonable as £120 to start with plus VAT.

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