Landlord Certificates in Medway & Maidstone
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What Are These Electrical Landlord Certificates and Why Do We Need Them?
"EICRs? c1s? c2s? What does this all mean?" you may ask.
We have now attended nearly 1,000 properties to carry out these dreaded EICRs throughout Medway & Maidstone. We have appraised the standard of these installations, and carried out the relevant remedial works. Hopefully we’re in the position to help you out with this topic.
New laws dictate that landlords have a duty of care toward their tenants. This is a multifaceted approach that deals with issues that cause harm such as damp, leaks, rodents, and of course, unsafe conditions of the electrical installation.
This is nothing new of course, all landlords are expected to be doing this anyway. However, new regulations, set out by the government, now stipulate to landlords that they must actively conform with a minimum standard of maintenance.
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All electrical installations that we find in rented domestic accommodation (and most other properties), are generally known as ‘mains’. These all come under the jurisdiction of The Requirements for Electrical Installations 18th Edition. IET Wiring Regulations. Set out in these regulations are all what you may need in order to design, install, and monitor and maintain an electrical installation to a good standard, with a high importance placed on safety.
EICRs are of the interest of the monitor & maintain part. The wiring regulations stipulate minimum recommended intervals of these maintenance programs (you’d have seen 5 years bandied about a lot recently) for rented domestic accommodation.
So, generally speaking, an EICR will be conducted every 5 years, or with every new tenancy.
What is an EICR and what goes into this maintenance program?
The EICR (Existing Installation Condition Report) is a report that is filled out, and encompasses various matters, mostly looking at the safety aspect. It looks at the age and condition of sockets and lights, the fuse box and what is working inside it, the integrity of the wiring connections throughout the building, the design of the wiring, and the extra protections that are to be provided in the bathroom (apparently water and electricity doesn’t mix!)
If the installation meets the minimum requirements for safety, the report gets lots of ticks and a few comments on possible improvements on ‘nice to haves’ (C3s)
If the installation doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for safety, and the inspector believes there is immediate danger (C1s), or there is good likelihood of danger developing if it is left as is (C2s), then the particular inspection item fails the report, and should have a reason why.
C1s and C2s are the big worry for landlords, and there’s good reason for that. Existence of C1s and C2s open landlords up to potential penalties, which can rise to £30,000
Landlord certificate (EICR) C1 Codes:
These are generally fairly obvious to find. If wires are hanging out somewhere, or there’s holes or large cracks in electrical enclosures somewhere, it’s fairly obvious to find.
It is worth noting, approximately 90% of C1s found were broken sockets, light switches or lights.
Of these, approximately 70% were broken sockets and backboxes, caused by accidental impact from moving furniture. Approximately 10% was tenant mistreatment of accessories. The other 20% is accountable from a myriad of miscellaneous issues. lights missing lids, plasterers/tilers/painters forgetting to screw back to wall, etc etc, and wear and tear of the building
Landlord certificate (EICR) C2 Codes:
C2s aren’t always immediately obvious, and the majority of them require a skilled and experienced electrician to find.
C2s encompass slightly less serious defects such as signs of thermal damage due to bad connections, broken rings, missing / chopped bonding, undersized conductors, SWA poorly terminated, IP rating failures and discontinuity of earths in circuits. To find them it usually requires opening up the electrical installations and using our specialist test equipment. with that in mind it makes sense that approximately 70% of C2s found were either down to the tenant carrying out their own works, such as the adding more sockets or changing light fittings, fitting power to their shed, or contractors have been hired to make home improvements such as new kitchens and bathrooms, without the involvement of an NICEIC registered electrician,
It can be easy to see why electrical installations should be well monitored and maintained. The best way of showing your due diligence as a landlord is finding a trusted electrician to ensure you are following the guidance of the wiring regs, BS7671. Please see some of the installations we’ve found faults on, nicknamed ‘the wall of flame and blame’.
Landlord certificate (EICR) C3 Codes:
C3 codes are what we give to defects or non-conformances of the regulations, but don’t impact the safety of the installation.
These codes are given for areas which could be improved, and are very varied and by making these improvements, adds the last 10% to the installation to bring it to the full 100%.
Defects such as the use of plastic fuseboxes, cables running close to gas pipes and gas meters, wrongly labelled isolators and breakers, cables that aren’t securely fixed throughout their entire length, IP breaches in equipment whilst doesn’t result in the failure in its IP rating, and more. As electricians, we must do our due diligence and highlight these defects to the person ordering the work.
It can be easy to see why electrical installations should be well monitored and maintained. The best way of showing your due diligence as a landlord is finding a trusted electrician to ensure you are following the guidance of the wiring regs, BS7671. Please see some faults we’ve found whilst carrying out electrical landlord certificates in Medway & Maidstone, nicknamed ‘the wall of flame and blame’, at the bottom of the page. Disclaimer: It’s not for the faint hearted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it too late to get an electrical landlord certificate? (EICR)
If you havn’t already ordered an electrician to go in and produce a satisfactory landlord certificate, shame on you! Where have you been?!
If you still havn’t had the check done, we recommend making it a top priority.
First of all, it is now the law to get it done.
Secondly, when was the last time it was checked? Do you know the condition of the electrical installation? This is the safety of your tenants we’re talking about. They are your living and breathing clients!
Lastly, by getting an electrician in to visit, possibly conduct some remedial work, and produce a valid satisfactory certificate, you’re mitigating the risk of anything going wrong and the potential lawsuits that may follow. It’s in your best interest! So book one in! We don’t bite..
How much does an electrical landlord certificate (EICR) cost?
The million dollar question.
The answer is, it all depends. All electrical contractors work slightly differently and price differently. Is the property a studio flat? is it a mansion? How many boards and DBs does it have? Does it have electric heating? Or more extravagant electrical parts such as a fully fledged swimming pool or outside lighting?
On top of the cost to just carry out the inspection and conduct the relevant electrical tests, there might be failures which require remedial work in order to pass. You must factor this in to your budget. Remedials can go from £100 for doing a few little bits to £1000’s for a complete rewire, it ll depends on whether it was all installed professionally, how long ago it was installed, and how it has fared over the years.
For the EICR by itself you’re looking in the region of £150 – £300 for typical properties, And quite possibly more for the larger more extravagant real estate.
My landlord certificate (EICR) failed, what can I do?
If your property has failed its electrical landlord certificate, you should have been in receipt of a copy of the certificate. On this certificate will be a list of non-conformances and code categories.
To ask another contractor to produce a satisfactory certificate without any works being undertaken is a bit of a no-no. You’re asking another electrician to then pit their professional opinion against another’s, and can open a can of worms if it ever went to court.
Having said that, we have assessed the electrical safety of some properties and have found that the previous electrician wasn’t reporting correct information of the certificate. Some of the non-conformances listed weren’t even in existence at the property.
If you trust your current electrician, we recommend using them for the remedial works. They would have already started making a rapport with the tenant, and they would have already become familiar with parts of the installation and know exactly where the non-conformances lie inside the property, they’ll know exactly what needs doing and what materials are required.
My tenant is being difficult and I cant get access to the property to have a landlord certificate (EICR) carried out, what can I do?
Whilst fairy rare, these things do unfortunately happen. If your tenant is being difficult, you need to be informing your local council and building control. You also want to be building up a portfolio of evidence that suggests that you have done all that you can to get access into the property in order to monitor and maintain it.
How long will the power be off for whilst contractors are conducting a landlord certificate (EICR)?
For normal properties you can expect the power to go off for between 2-4 hours. This could be the whole property or parts of it, for the full time or at stages through the visit. This all depends on how the electrician works.
Do I need a new fuseboard or just an RCD?
The most common reason a fuseboard requires upgrading is due to lack of a 30mA RCD. If the property doesn’t have an RCD, it’s likely 20+ years old and the board itself will be part of a discontinued product range. When we fit new fuseboards we highly recommend an RCBO loaded, 18th edition, metal board. We also recommend fitting an up front isolator and a type 2 SPD.