Are electrical reports now compulsory?
This depends on the report and the individual council as they have their own requirements. Saying that, most of them will require the completion of an EICR report every 5 years. It confirms that the electrical items contained within the property are safe. These are mandatory and required every 5 years under an HMO licence.
Will they be compulsory in future?
The Government carried out a consultation which was due to end around the 17th February 2018. The consultation included various companies and individuals all from the industry.
The following points are all recommendations from the consultation:-
a) Find a mandatory electrical installation for the whole rental sector.
b) Mandatory safety certificates confirming the completion of installation checks and any necessary repair work. These are to be provided to both the landlord and the tenants at the beginning of the tenancy and made available to the local authority at request.
c) Establish an electrical testing competent person scheme in the private rental sector. This is to ensure a properly trained expert takes on the work. This should be separate from the existing building regulation competent person.
d) Landlords to supply electrical appliance tests and visual checks of electrical appliances. Promote this as good practice and have it set out in the guidance.
We will deal with the question of PAT testing in a separate article. We understand that the Law Commission will incorporate mandatory reports for all properties in future.
Will there be new Government powers to crack down on bad practices?
Yes, the Government has already brought in the latest Deregulation bill which details the potential fines. These vary up to £30,000 for properties that do not comply. Failure to not comply can also result in banning landlords from renting their properties out.
So will it be compulsory in future?
We believe yes, it will be compulsory at some point either in late 2019 or 2020 depending on the Brexit situation. The Grenfell report will certainly touch on the subject on Health and Safety matters.
We recommend all landlords carry out an EICR now. They last for a period of 9 years but should be done every 5. We believe that the new Housing Bill will include even more requirements for landlords in the future. Especially in respect to electrical reports. Of course it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the tenants are safe in their property now. There is already a Health and Safety need with landlords under the PAT testing which we have dealt with in a separate article.
We believe that it is a good practice for landlords to carry out regular EICRs on their properties. This way they ensure that they are maintaining good living standards and keeping records for insurance purposes. Should the worst happen.