An EICR is an electrical installation condition report and one of three electrical checks required in Scotland for rental properties.
For many years there were no electrical checks needed this side of the border for a rented home, just a duty oF care. That all changed in December 2015 when the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 required an EICR had to be carried out for new tenancies. Existing tenancies had to have an EICR by December 2016.
Not only did the new legislation require an inspection of the wiring within the home, but it also added in a requirement for a portable appliance test (PAT) certificate too.
Back in 2007 smoke alarms had to be wired in under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 repairing standards requirement. By 2010 the rules changed to requiring wired-in, interlinked smoke detectors in the main living areas, communal areas, and a heat detector in the kitchen.
So, an EICR is required to check the electrical circuits and fixtures, smoke detection and, if wired in, the carbon monoxide detector where required.
The inspection is to identify:
- If electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
- Identify potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards.
- Find any defective electrical work.
- Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
An EICR must be carried out every five years, although a check is advised at change of tenancies in case a tenant has tampered with the electrics in the house.
WHAT DOES AN EICR SHOW?
The EICR certificate runs over several pages. There are two sections to especially note as a landlord. These are the satisfactory/unsatisfactory decision and the table coding the findings.
These codes rank the level of risk and lists the work needing to be carried out or considered.
These codes are:
- C1 = Danger Present (FAIL)
- C2 = Potentially Dangerous (FAIL)
- C3 = Improvement Recommended.
- FI = Further Investigation Required (FAIL)
- N/V = Not Verified (Unable to verify)
- N/A = Not Applicable.
- LIM = Limitation (Not tested or inspected)
We have taken over several let properties in recent years from other letting agents and found EICR’s with C1 and C2 hazards listed and not addressed.
There are two possible reasons for this, the agents didn’t check the paperwork, or the remedial work had been carried out and no replacement certificate generated. There is a view in the market that a failed EICR is acceptable as long as the failures are fixed, and an electrician invoice shows the work has been done.
We believe this to be poor practice, especially where an agent incorporates a trade invoice into their statement and the original invoice is lost. Where does the landlord stand when there an electrical accident in the property and the Tribunal / HSE require a satisfactory EICR as evidence.
There could also be a cost element to not getting a second certificate generated. This is because some electricians will carry out an EICR and charge the full fee for a failed inspection. The remedial work is carried out and a second full charge is raised for a pass certificate.
We use electricians who carry out the equivalent of a pre-MOT and visually check a job before doing a full inspection. They identify the faults, fix them, and then carry out the inspection for a ‘satisfactory’ result.
WHO CARRIES OUT AN EICR?
This is one other area where agents and landlords are too lax in carrying out due diligence. Over the years we have found several certificates either incorrectly completed or carried out by electricians who were not in a required trade organisation when they signed off the EICR.
An EICR must be carried out by a competent person. The legislation requires the electrician to be in a business which is a member of an accredited registration scheme recognised by the Scottish Government.
These organisations are the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT), National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) or The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).
You can find a registered electrician in your area by visiting:
- SELECT: www.select.org.uk/for-the-public
- NAPIT: www.napit.org.uk/why-napit/landlord.aspx
- NICEIC: www.niceic.com/householder/find-a-contractor
WHAT IS THE COST OF AN EICR?
Locally the cost of an EICR is around £150, which is not a lot once every five years. The cost comes in the remedial work. This can be a nasty shock for landlords who inherit property and look to let it out rather than sell. Or the landlord who has bought a property to let out and not lived in it before.
The one saving grace is that once done it is unlikely to need an upgrade in five years, plus smoke detection no longer need be hard wired and interlinked. A recent legislative change now means battery interlinked detectors are acceptable.
There is one other certificate that is an alternative to an EICR. An Installation Certificate is issued for a is a new build property and where a property has been fully rewired. An Electrical Installation Certificate meets the standard of an EICR, lasts five years and is acceptable provided the date of the next inspection indicated on the certificate has not elapsed.
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