What is an EICR?
EICR is short for ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’. This is when a ‘competent person’ tests electrical installations like light fittings, plug sockets, fuse boxes and wiring to make sure they are safe and that there is no risk of electric shock or fire hazards.
EICR is sometimes referred to as ‘fixed wire testing’ or a ‘landlord’s electrical safety certificate’.
Who is responsible for an EICR?
The landlord who owns the property or HMO is responsible for arranging an EICR and ensuring that the rental property is safe for tenants to live in.
The landlord is also responsible for ensuring that the person hired to carry out the EICR is 'skilled' and has the technical skills needed to carry the EICR out.
Does a live-in landlord have to get an EICR?
If you live in the property with your tenants as a resident landlord, an EICR inspection is not required by law.
Even though it's not mandatory, you still need to take measures to keep the people who live with you safe from fire risk and electric shocks.
Are there any other exclusions?
Yes. mandatory EICR inspections do not apply to:
Rentals where the occupier lives with a member of the landlord's family
'Long leases' where there is a right of occupation of seven years or more
Student halls of residences
Hostels and refuges
Hospices and hospitals
Registered social housing providers- although charities like Electrical Safety First are campaigning for EICR checks to apply to the social rental sector
Buildings intended for short-term rentals, including holiday homes, cottages and caravans
Purpose of these regulations
The majority of landlords are invested in the safety of their tenants and want to make sure they can use electrical appliances in their homes with complete confidence.
However, there are a handful of landlords who are not interested in the welfare of their tenants. EICR for landlords protect tenants and gives property owners peace of mind.
This law helps to ensure the safety of tenants wherever they live and ensures the private rented sector offers high-quality and safe housing to everyone.
Frequency of testing
The frequency of EICR testing takes place varies from industry to industry. It can be anything from one year to ten years. Generally speaking, the higher the risk, the more often it must take place.
For rental properties and HMOs, EICR inspections must take place every five years.
Although it is not legally required, we would also recommend that you get your EICR certificate renewed when there is a change in tenancy. This will allow you to ensure that no dangerous faults are awaiting any brand-new tenant.
Do I have to get an EICR even if there is no one living in the property?
Yes. As the electrical installation in a property could fail even if there is no one living there, you need to get an EICR carried out even if the property is vacant.
There are benefits to doing this. As the property isn't occupied you can get an EICR inspection at a date and time convenient to you. You can also move a tenant in at short notice.
How many circuits do I have to be tested?
If you are trying to arrange an EICR, the electrical company you use will want to know how many circuits there are.
If you don't know how many circuits are in your rental property, there are two ways that the electrical company will be able to work this out for you.
You can send a copy of your last EICR inspection report
You can send a photo of your circuit board
What is tested
A qualified electrician will inspect the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property. These include:
Consumer unit (fusebox or distribution boards) that contains all the fuses, circuit-breakers and preferably residual current devices (RCDs).
Cabling including those hidden in the walls and ceilings
Accessories (such as sockets, switches and light fittings)
We are often asked if electrical showers will be checked during an EICR inspection. If they are part of the distribution board, then they will be tested. If they are not (for example, they are a standalone unit) then they will not be tested.
The test only covers fixed electrics, not appliances like cookers, fridges or televisions. If you want these checking, this needs to be done separately
Process of testing
A qualified electrician will inspect your electrical installation for any faults. They will carry out both a visual inspection (looking for cracks and breakages) as well as electrical testing to check the safety of the circuits.
Some tests require the power to be turned off, so you will need to bear this in mind if there are tenants on the property. Circuits can be powered off individually though which will cause less disruption.
Once the test takes place, you will receive a copy of the EICR report. The report will advise if the inspection was 'satisfactory' or 'unsatisfactory'.
The following classification codes show if additional work is needed:
Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action is required. These installations must be made safe as soon as possible
Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous - urgent remedial action required. These installations must also be made safe as soon as possible
Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation is required without delay. This usually means that the inspector will need to return to investigate the issue further, and will determine whether it is safe or unsafe
Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. You do not need to get this fixed, but it is recommended you do. Think of this as an 'advisory note' on an MOT
If your inspection is unsatisfactory, you must carry out remedial work.
You must complete this work within 28 days, or during the timescale specified in the report. After this, you need to provide written confirmation to your tenant and your council within 28 days of the work being completed.
Penalties for non-compliance
If you do not carry out an EICR inspection for your rental property or properties, you could be liable for a fine.
If your local council believes you are in breach of these regulations, they can serve a notice on you. If the work is not carried out, your council may carry out the work itself and recover the costs from you.
Local authorities can fine up to £5,000 for a first offence and a civil penalty of up to £30,000 if you don't comply.
Your tenant is protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) and Protection from Eviction Act (1977).
This means that your tenant must agree to give you, or a tradesperson who is working for you, access to the property. You can't turn up unannounced or try and force entry.
According to the Government's guidance: "A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply."
This means that if you have shown that you have taken action to get an EICR inspection carried out, you will not be in breach of the regulations.
You can do this by providing evidence of all the times you have communicated with your tenant to arrange an inspection.
Keep copies of emails sent as well as any replies you have had from your tenant. If you send any letters, send them by recorded mail, so you have proof they have been delivered to your tenant.
If your local council investigates, you can then prove that you took steps to get your tenant to comply, and they won't fine you for not getting an EICR carried out.
It is recommended that you keep copies of your last EICR inspection and any recent electrical work you have carried out. This shows that you have ensured that the electrical installations in the property are as safe as possible.
If the property is occupied, give your tenant as much notice as possible. Some testing needs to be carried out while the power is off, which may mean that there are certain things they may not be able to do while the test takes place.
Your tenant may choose to be out of the property while the testing is being carried out.
You will also need to ensure the electrician can access as much of the property as possible, for example, the loft or the basement. If the electrician can't access all parts of the property they will detail this in their report.
Find the official Gov guidelines - here