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Electrical certificates for rental properties

Electrical Safety Condition Reports (EICRs) 

All landlords and managers are only too aware that rented property must have a valid Electrical Safety Condition Report (EICR) before a tenancy can commence. Every EICR must also be renewed at five-year intervals. 

The process of achieving an EICR starts with an electrical safety check; a detailed test of the fixed wiring to ensure that consumer unit and the cabling serving sockets, lighting points and other power outlets are still safe and fit for purpose. The test can uncover issues including the risk of electric shock or fire, whether previous electrical work has been compliant, whether cabling has become damaged or circuits are overloaded. Other items investigated are whether there is sufficient earthing at the property and whether appropriate mechanisms are in place for the circuits to shut themselves down if they detect any serious problems. 

If any faults (known as “departures from safety”) are noted they will be given one of three codes:

• C1 – the fault poses an immediate risk to safety and must be rectified straight away.

• C2 – the fault poses a potential risk to safety and should be rectified as soon as possible.

• C3 – the fault has arisen because of a technicality. For example, due to regulatory changes, issues that would be considered safe at the time of installation may now be deemed unsafe. Correcting C3 items is recommended but it is not obligatory.

If any C1 or C2 items are found during the test they will need to be put right before a “satisfactory” certificate can be issued. A lot of electricians will tell you that all C3 items need to be put right as well: this is not correct. There are very few C3 items that prevent a “satisfactory” certificate from being issued.   

Once you have a “satisfactory” certificate, you can renew it five years later with just a sample test of the installation, making the whole process much cheaper second (or subsequent) time around. So instead of testing all the circuits, renewal can be done by investigating just 25-30% of them. Harland & Voss customers are offered a sample re-test automatically: we keep all our testing records so that online renewal reminders are generated in good time. 

All electricians will remind you that the penalties for not having an in-date certificate can be quite severe. If an accident happens on your property – such as someone receiving an electric shock, or an electrical fire breaking out – you could be held absolutely liable if you fail to provide a valid EICR. The EICR will show that you took reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the electrical installation at your property, so please don’t delay in getting one if you need to.     

If we can help you plan your testing requirements, please call us on 020 8451 0345.