Landlords Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

Updated 24 May 2021

I expected this to happen. I have seen several EICR’s from Landlords carried out by “local” Electricians. – They have FAILED inspection!

Your first starting point if you are concerned about failures on your EICR is to refer your Electrican to the current version (2018) of BS 7671 …

Reason: EICR is always made against Current Regulations (18th Revision) which came into force 1st January 2019, however allowance has to be made for the regulations that were current when the current electrical system was “installed”. So, what is NOW considered Dangerous (according to current regulations) was NOT considered Dangerous when it was installed. Its a bit like Car Seat belts. We All (?) think these are good Safety Feature of Modern Cars – but Cars built prior to 1962 do NOT need seat belts to be fitted, but they are still legal to drive and will still pass an MOT. (OK you don’t HAVE to have an MOT on such an old vehicle, but its still advised that you do). But would YOU want to ride in a car without Seat belts?

One problem seems to be that “Testers” are either ignorant of the fact that whilst the installation has to be tested against the current (18th) regulations, consideration has to be made of the regulations in force when the house was built. It seems that many don’t seem aware of this, don’t know their regulations history OR are looking to make good money while Landlords having left things to the last moment (EICR’s must be in place by 1st April) are like Rabbits Caught in the Car Headlights!

The testing identifies problems with the following labels:

C1: Dangerous NOW

C2: Dangerous if a Fault Occurs

C3: Improvement Required (Could do better!) – a bit like an Advisory on an MOT – Don’t dismiss it, be aware of the areas where your property does NOT meet current standards.

FI: Futher investigation: This means “he couldn’t figure something out” that was bothering him without spending more time – This is also a failure.

https://www.intersafe.co.uk/news/fixed-wire-testing-observation-codes-c1-c2-c3-and-fi-explained/

So, if YOU have had a recent inspection and the inspection flagged up:

NO RCD PROTECTION….. THEN CHALLENGE IT!

This means the Electrician is looking to do some expensive “remedial” work in order to Pass your Property as Safe! In other words – He wants at least a days work to replace your “Fusebox” and retest your house.

He may also have found other things (in your 20 -50 year old house) that does NOT comply with 2019 Installation Standards!

So here are some key points for all you Landlords that have received Fail Certificates:-

If your house electrical system was installed before these dates they do NOT apply to you:

  • RCD’s were NOT required on Lighting Circuits until January 1st 2019.
  • RCD’s were NOT required on ANY circuits until January 2008.

  • Cables Concealed in Wall less then 50mm – Not a problem for houses built before January 2008.
  • No RCD Protection for Circuits (or cables) passing through Bathrooms. (This is getting repetitive). Not a problem for houses built before January 2008.
  • Earth cables do NOT necessarily have to be 16mm – this depends on several factors including age of property.
  • Meter tails do NOT necessarily have to be 25mm – this depends on factors.
  • Downlights are not Fire Rated. This is Building Regs Thing… Ideally downlights should be Fire-rated for general safety (I won’t fit non-down rated ones) but if they are already in place and have been for some time its not an issue (C3?). New ones installed downstairs should always be Fire rated. However, there should be no blue/brown or black/red inner wiring exposed, and the earth wires should be connected around the circuit even if not used by the light itself. (C2 for inner wiring problem, C3 for lack of earth if the light is double insulated, C2 if the light needs an earth)
  • You do NOT have to have “Trips” (MCB’s) if “of an age” is OK to have “Fuses” or “Fuse wire” fuses.
  • If the Water pipe entering your property is PLASTIC as it comes out of the ground into your Kitchen (or wherever) it does NOT have to be Bonded to Earth. This is actually a change in the latest (18th) regulations, but in this case you CAN apply retrospectively.
  • However, IF you don’t have RCD’s you MUST have FULL BONDING on all your water pipes inside the house. – So this could fail you instead!

Having said that, I would not want to live, nor expect my Tenants to live in a house without RCD protection on at least the socket circuits. And if you have FULL RCD protection, you probably don’t need the Bonding anymore on your water pipes. The most sensible way to install RCD protection on all circuits is to replace the Fuse box – but I repeat – YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE RCD PROTECTION on houses older than 2008! – Unless you have your Fusebox replaced in which case it MUST be a full RCD type!

So, if you do have “NO RCD” problems flagged, you really *should* think about a new Fusebox for Safety – RCD protection could literally mean the difference between Life and Death – but you don’t have to have one fitted right now in a panic!

Other problems that are often incorrectly reported as C2 or C1:

  • No Earth on Lighting Circuit. Houses built before 1966 did NOT have to have Earth Circuits (we often call them CPC’s on our certificates). So this is not a fail either ?

Yes and no. If you only have Plastic Light fittings and Plastic Light Switches – then NO this is NOT a failure – you do NOT need a rewire – you just need a Safety Notice on your Fusebox as a Warning. If you do have Metal fittings anywhere on your lighting circuits – either you need a Lighting Rewire or replace all the Metal stuff with Plastic or fit “Double Insulated” metal light fittings and get a Warning Label on your Fusebox.

  • Bathroom fittings not IP rated. So? What exactly are these fittings are where are they located? A bathroom is divided into Zones. The worst is above a Shower or Bath – A shower (Zone 1) extends to 2.25 meters from the floor and Zone 2 extends 60cms to the sides to the sides. See this diagram for full explanation: https://www.jlmelectrical.co.uk/bathroom-zones-explained/

    So a “Pendant” or Batten light in the middle of the bathroom does not fail an EICR provided it is further than 60 cms from the Shower. A Down light above the shower does NOT fail EICR if it’s higher than 2.25m from the floor – however if its NOT splash rated (IPx3 at least) then he may have a point!
    https://www.jlmelectrical.co.uk/i-p-ratings-explained/
    Also if the cover is missing from the light fitting exposing live contacts, even if just the screw heads of a “chocolate block” connector – this is a failure – Live Contacts exposed!
  • Fusebox should be Metal, not Plastic. This only applies to Boxes installed after January 2013, if they are found to be Plastic, and this is not even a C3!
  • Smoke Alarms out of date or not working. Nothing to do with an EICR, Its good to know, but not grounds for Failure. However as a Landlord this could later find you in Court! So thank him for bringing this to your attention. Be aware the Smoke alarm may be wired in, therefore you might want him to replace them for you.

There will likely be a lot more “Faults” your Electrician may find – Some appear to be “made up” – i.e. Nothing in the Regulations at all.

Some faults may be “Building Regulations” issues – These are usually NO REASON to fail an Electrical Inspection – at worst these should be C3’s

If you have a failed EICR and an expensive bill to “fix it” – you can always call in another Electrician for a second opinion – The trouble is – he could be the first guys “Brother in Law” !

See here for more explanation – Its a guide for Electricians really – so if in doubt send him (or her) link to this page:

https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/professional-resources/wiring-regulations/inspection-testing-certification-and-reporting/

If you do have a Failed EICR you could email me a copy. I can’t guarantee to comment very quickly because I have LOTS of EICR’s to do!! (and very little fuseboxes to replace!) but it would be of interest to me to see whats going on.

If you really do not believe your Electrician after you have challenged his findings, then contact his “Registration Body” – NAPIT, ELECSA, NICEIC, STROMA etc. and see what they have to say. And if you HAVE paid to have “unnecessary” work carried out – again Contact his Registration body. Just Search the Internet for the Registration Body contact details.

If you are notified of any Failures (C1, C2, FI) – you are “Expected” to resolve these within 28 days. C3’s – Just think about them and plan to fix them.

Of course, just because of what I have said above does not mean that there are other things in your house that are not genuine failures. When an Electrician issues a PASS, HE is taking responsibility for the Safety from you and taking it onto his own shoulders – so he has to be careful what he accepts, with regards to “Safety” and the Regulations.

So what if I don’t have an satisfactory EICR in place by 1st April 2021?

If the local authority believe a landlord to be in breach of the duties set out by the regulations, they must serve a remedial notice to the landlord who must then carry out the action recommended.

If the local authority has concluded, beyond reasonable doubt, that a private landlord has breached their duties under the regulations, they may issue a notice of intent to impose a financial penalty. This penalty is determined by the local authority but cannot exceed the amount of £30,000.

I would think right now that the Local Council have got more pressing matters to be worrying about! – But you might find it more difficult to evict your Tenant if you don’t have one after this date. But you will find it very difficult to evict them anyway at present! (COVID-19)

I am only booking a maximum of 2 Days for EICR’s each week. That is a maximum of 4 EICR’s per week. This is to allow me to process the paperwork, attend to my other business etc. but I am still accepting more EICR’s – I am currently booking EICR’s into Late May.

Further reading:

http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php/Wiring_regs_history

https://www.niceic.com/www.niceic.com/media/PDF/FactSheet-Electrics-A4-4pp.pdf

and here…

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

For those looking for something to read in bed… Here is the Act that has been laid before Parlimement.

Interesting to note that although the Regulations: BS7671, 2019 (18th Edition) says the EICR’s should be carried out after each change of Tenancy – This act avoids saying that… I say “avoids” because its wording is along the lines of ….

… every 5 years – or whenever the tester has stated…. (my paraphrase)

Read it for yourself here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111191934_en.pdf?dm_i=5172,4SB5,94CDW,J6NJ,1

Mandatory Electrical Inspections for Rental Property 2020 England.

There is a currently a bill before Parliament that is expected to be “fast tracked” to require ALL “privately rented” homes in England to have Electrical Safety Certificates in place (EICR). (“Council” houses are exempt!)

This came into force 1st July 2020 for New Tenancies (or renewals) and applies to ALL Tenancies (New and Existing from 1st April 2021.

Here is a link to the official Government Guide:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector

Also See here:

and here:

What is involved in an EICR? See here:

http://www.nccompliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/What-happens-during-an-electrical-installation-condition-report.pdf

“Anyone” can fill an EICR form in – you can find blank ones on the internet.  However, if that person is NOT Qualified to Test ((holds appropriate C&G qualifications) then, any EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) produced by them will “NOT BE WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON”!.  Moreover, unless they also have “Professional Indemnity Insurance” whilst they may be legally liable for the report, you will be lucky to recover any compensation should someone subsequently be injured (or killed!) by the electrical system they said was “Safe”!

Ensure that whoever you call in to carry out your EICR is a “Registered Electrician”.  That is to say they are a Registered with a “Government approved Scheme”. The scheme ensures that they are regularly inspected to ensure that they can carry out such work.  In my case, I am registered with NAPIT.

See here to check / find a registered electrician in your area:

http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/

An EICR is not “just a quick look around”… In addition to a thorough visual inspection and tests made with Calibrated Test Meter, it requires EVERY circuit in the Consumer Unit (Fuse box) to be disconnected and individually tested.  This involves putting test conditions on the cables and going around to every socket and light fitting to check the circuits are operating correctly and safely. The tester has to complete an extensive checklist of the system and record all electrical results on a 6 page form. Every aspect of the Electrical System has to be examined and he (she) has to confirm by entries on the form that that have done this.

As a guide, to carry out a “proper” EICR on a 3 Bed Semi takes around 4 hours, plus the time to raise the paperwork afterwards.  It is hard to put a fixed time on an inspection as it varies depending on where the Consumer Unit is located, how many circuits there are, how many rooms there are, how many floors there are, how many lights and sockets there are, how much the electrical system has been “modified” over its life (and how well!) – and finally if any faults are found – the extent of the fault has to be investigated enough to ensure that it can be correctly reported (not necessarily find the cause or fix it, just the extent in order to ensure safety.).

Having carried out this EICR and having produced a “Signed, Dated and “Traceable” certificate” which carries a unique serial number including the registration code of the “Tester” – the “Tester” is now “Legally Liable” for that inspection.  If he (or she) passes the Electrical Installation as “Safe” – when they didn’t test it property (take the money and run) – and someone is injured by a fault that they should have identified by “proper” testing… they could be taken to court. Note they are NOT liable for any “Subsequent” modifications someone makes! (or bodges). Like an MOT, it reflects the condition of the system at the time of testing only.

BS 7671 says that “Rental Properties” should be inspected EVERY 5 years or on “Change of Tenant” whichever comes earlier.  Note this is NOT a quick check between change of Tenants – it is a FULL (and legal) EICR.

I am seeing some “nonsense” being reported on the websites at present regarding this new Legislation.  They are saying that ALL rental Property HAS to comply with the Current (18th Edition) Standards, BS7671.   THIS IS NOT TRUE!

All NEW installation work MUST comply with BS7671:2018, 18th Edition.

All TESTING (EICR) is made AGAINST BS7671:2018, 18th Edition, but the installation does NOT have to fully comply with BS7671:2018, 18th Edition!  Anything that does NOT comply with “Current” regulations is given a “Code”. A code C3 (not compliant, but not dangerous) is NOT a failure and a certificate with many C3 Codes is still a PASS.  A C2 code is “Dangerous should a fault occur”.  A single C2 means Failure.  A C1 means “Dangerous NOW!”.  In this event the electrician should isolate the faulty circuit. You may receive an FI (further investigation) – this means the tester was unable to test something for some reason (maybe he can’t find what is connected to a given circuit for example). An FI is a a Failure!

A C3 is similar to an MOT “Advisory”.

An EICR does NOT include “Fixing” anything, but I suggest you discuss this with your Tester before he starts to use his discretion (if simple, fix it and add to the bill before raising the report.)

BE READY for “unscrupulous” (or “mis-guided”) electricians who may well report a C3 as a C2 – hence you fail and NEED to get the work done.  An example of this to be aware of is:

Lighting Circuits:  Prior to 1970’s it was NOT Unusual for lighting circuits to be installed WITHOUT an “earth wire” (a CPC we call it!) to every switch and fitting.  IF there are NO Metal fittings (or all fittings are “double insulated” – this is only a C3! NOT a C1 or C2 !!!  Do NOT get ripped off.  If you DO have metal fittings (lights or switches), then replacing them by plastic is cheaper than a rewire!

If you have a C3 on “no earth on a lighting circuit” a notice to this effect should be placed on the “Fusebox” to warn everybody.  This “fault” is VERY COMMON on older houses, but does NOT require a rewire.

https://www.thelabelpeople.co.uk/user/products/WarningNoProvisionBS7671.jpg
Example Label to put on Consumer Unit

This also applies if you have your “Fusebox” (Consumer Unit) replaced.

Lack of RCD’s on an installation is only a C3! Do NOT be conned.  However, this means that your system is not as safe as it could be and you cannot have ANY changes made to your installed electrical system until this if fixed.  Normally, the advice is to replace the Consumer Unit which makes the house safer and compliant for the future.  However, if it’s just a simple change – another socket for example, provided the NEW wiring and socket is protected by an RCD, this IS compliant.  A “Fused Spur” (FCU) incorporating an RCD can be fitted where the new socket is required.  This device costs around £20 – 25  – Cheaper than replacing the whole fusebox (Consumer Unit) for a simple modification.  However, if you do NOT have RCD protection overall, I would advise a replacement Consumer Unit.

Also be aware of the fact that many older properties are only fitted with ONE RCD.  Sometimes this protects the whole installation (but if it trips – and they do “nuisance trip”) it will turn off the electricity to whole house.  Often on older properties that do have an RCD, it only protects the Power Sockets (and hopefully the shower!).  It is NOT Unusual for the Lighting Circuits in older installations NOT to be protected. Again, this is only a C3!!!!! Do NOT be Conned!  But be aware that you cannot make any alternations to the lighting circuit (fitting an outside light maybe – unless the power is fed from a Socket circuit which is protected by RCD).

If your system does Fail an EICR – read the report and try to understand the faults. Discuss with your Tester (Electrician). If any any doubt call another Electrician and ask his opinion. Advice over the phone may be “free” – but even if you call him out and pay – there is no reason why you should not get a second opinion if you are in any doubt.

A quick explanation about EICR codes:

https://www.procertssoftware.com/blog/how-to-code-observations-on-a-condition-report

A cautionary tale regarding NOT testing between Tenants (even though the original certificate is valid for 5 years):

I recently added some more sockets for a Landlord (who helped me install them). As I had to carry out some testing for the certificate for additional sockets, he asked me to carry out a Full EICR at the same time. My inspection took me into the “downstairs toilet” / outhouse attached to the rear of the house… Unknown to the Landlord – the Tenant had arranged for a “Family member” to add power and lighting into here at some point in the past (property is managed by an Agency!). On inspection I found that it wasn’t “too bad”, but was a little “strange” (obviously a DIY job) and incorrectly fused – meaning that wiring to the lights could have become overloaded and caused a fire. So this took us some more time to investigate, wire the circuits correctly and then test before I could issue the EICR with a “pass”.

If the Landlord had subsequently rented to a new Tenant – and someone was injured or a fire developed because of this electrical work … Whose fault would it be? Who would carry the can for it ? (CLUE: The Landlord!) In fact, if something had happened during the time of the Tenant that carried out unauthorised electrical work – who would carry the can ? (See CLUE above…) It’s the Landlords responsibility to ensure the property is safe – and how can he prove the Tenant carried out “un-authorised work” if they deny it ?

An EICR does NOT detail the installed Electrical System, it only reports circuits tested and inspected and the results. Perhaps a fully documented Electrical System should be added to the Inventory ?

Finally: Reminder that this Electrical Inspection needs to be carried out EVERY 5 years or on CHANGE of Tenant (according to BS7671, because you don’t know what the previous Tenants may have done!) – whichever occurs first! And make sure you ALWAYS give your Tenants a copy of the current certificate (and I advise you get them to sign a document to say they have received it). Maybe even consider getting some “As built” documentation raised by an Electrician for your records in case someone carries out un-authorised changes?

Also – see my later posting 26 February 2020 for example of WHY you should have an EICR at regular intervals….