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Surge in EICR requests from landlords after Government passes new rules

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Electricians across England are reporting a noticeable surge in the number of landlords requesting electrical installation condition reports (EICR) of their buildings, after the Government changed the rules for rented accommodation. 

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on June 1, 2020, and requires landlords to ensure that their property is meeting the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations. In order to satisfy this new law, landlords need to have  a professional perform an EICR and have documentation to hand to prove that the electrical wiring meets today’s standards. 

While many landlords have been free to have professionals check electrical installations were safe and up to standards in the past, it was always on a voluntary basis. Now, the Government is requiring it – meaning many landlords are clamouring to ensure they don’t fall foul of the law. 

How is the EICR surge affecting electricians in England? 

Electrical Review spoke to Aidan Hackwood, an electrician based in Birmingham, who noted that he had seen a notable rise in landlords requesting EICRs within the last week. 

“I’ve been signed up to these lead generation sites like myjobquote and more recently rated people, I would get the odd request for an EICR when someone sold their house or buying a house, but within the last week there has been a lot of requests for landlord certificates,” he noted. 

“Currently there are 22 jobs at least that have all been posted within the last week.”

What if an EICR was done before the new law came into effect? 

The new law mandates that an EICR should be performed at least once every five years for the majority of properties, and that those properties need to adhere to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations. Of course, for some properties that could require some major electrical work, even if they meet older electrical safety standards. 

While it’s always recommended to ensure your building meets today’s standards, landlords who have recently completed an EICR prior to the new law have been given a little breathing room by the Government. That means as long as your EICR is still valid, which they usually are for five years, then you don’t need to obtain a new one or upgrade your wiring to comply with the 18th Edition of the Wiring Standards until later down the line. 

When do inspections need to be done? 

The recent surge in EICR requests by landlords isn’t completely out of the blue. Those renting out properties in England are now required to obtain an EICR before their tenants take up residence. This is true for all tenancies entered into on or after June 1, although landlords had until July 1, 2020, before they had to have an EICR physically performed by a qualified person. 

There’s even more breathing room for those who have pre-existing tenants, as they won’t require an EICR until April 1, 2021. That could lead to another surge in landlords requesting EICR next year. 

Those with lodgers or long-term tenancies of more than seven years aren’t required to have an EICR performed at all, however.

How will the new EICR requirement affect electricians in the future? 

Of course this EICR surge may seem temporary, but there should be a steady number of landlords requesting certificates in the future. Electricians will also see peaks in demand nearly every five years, as today’s certificates expire. 

It’s not just about performing the inspections, however. Electricians will also be able to take advantage of the remedial work that comes from failed inspections. It’s likely that many EICRs will bring up issues relating to wiring not meeting the 18th Edition’s requirements. If that’s the case, landlords will have 28 days in which to line up a qualified person to do remedial work or investigate further.

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