If you’re a responsible landlord, you may well already carry out EICR (electrical installation condition report) checks regularly on all your properties. From 1st April, however, this will be a legal requirement, with fines up to £30,000 for failure to comply.
What Is the EICR?
An EICR is the document that an electrician issues after carrying out an inspection on the electrical equipment in a property. Depending on the results of the inspection, the document will either specify repairs or replacements needed, or it will certify that the equipment can continue to be used safely.
Since June last year, landlords have been legally obliged to have an EICR for new tenancies, but this is now being extended to all privately rented properties. The tests, which are valid for five years, cost between £150 and £300, depending on the property, and all costs must be borne by the landlord.
Why Has the Law Changed?
Electrical safety testing has been common for many years among responsible landlords who are concerned for the safety of their tenants. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been universal. Some of the landlords who haven’t been carrying out the tests may have been unscrupulously cutting corners, but others may simply not have realised the importance.
However, the issue has been highlighted by two tragic deaths due to faulty electrical equipment in privately rented properties. In one, back in 2008, Thirza Whittall was electrocuted in the bath in a property whose equipment hadn’t been checked for 27 years.
A more recent case involved the death of Professor John Alliston in 2019, electrocuted by a faulty cable that had become unexpected live. It was at the inquest of Professor Alliston that the coroner recommended compulsory electrical safety testing for the private rental sector.
Benefits for All Concerned
Lesley Rud, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, has welcomed the change in the law:
“Renters will be better protected from the dangers posed by electricity under these new laws. Whilst many good landlords already carry out checks, some do not. These checks will help prevent tragedies like those involving John Alliston and Thirza Whittall from happening to others.”
Responsible landlords will also benefit from gaining peace of mind through the checks. Quite apart from the legal and financial fallout of such a case, would you really want to have the death of a tenant on your conscience for the rest of your life? You can avoid all this, not to mention a £30,000 fine, for an averaged-out cost of £30-£60 a year per property.
Feel free to give me a call if you want to discuss this or any other legal obligation of privately renting out your properties.