Landlords have been warned not to expect a grace period or extension to the deadline for properties to confirm to the new electrical safety standards.

Originally, an EICR (electrical installation condition report) was only required for new tenancies starting on or after 1st July 2020, but after 1st April this year all existing tenancies must also confirm to the new standards. Further inspections must then be carried out every 5 years.

But given the challenges of accessing properties and finding approved electricians to do the work during the pandemic, landlords and letting agents have been calling for an extension to this 1st April deadline.

But property lawyer David Smith has said this is unlikely to happen.

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“I’ve been pressing the housing ministry at various meetings to grant an extension for ages and they’ve fobbed us off at every turn,” he told a webinar hosted by repair reporting platform Fixflo.

“They’ve now turned round and said there is no parliamentary time available to put through an regulations to extend the ‘time to compliance’.”

Smith (pictured) said part of the housing ministry’s position is that, if landlords can’t get access or reasonably get the work done due to Covid that will be a defence under the EIC regulations.

But he says that is not true and only applies if a local authority has served a remediation notice to a landlord.

“The housing ministry has told local authorities they should be reasonable when issuing penalties, but whether that message has got through is another matter,” he says.

“I would urge landlords to do everything they can to meet the deadline.”

Please note: EICR are different to Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) and Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificates (MEIWCs) which are for new installations, or alterations or additions to existing ones.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Everyone agrees that these checks are important. However, how would they expect a full house re-wiring when tenants are occupying their properties? Unless the Government is planning to book the rest of the hotels during the epidemic as temporary accommodation.

    It’s a lack of awareness about Health and Safety for works that are required to be carried out on rented residential properties among policy makers and social campaigners. There is no sincerity on any of these show-off legislations.

    Does this new legislation apply to social and private rented residential properties?

  2. We had plenty of notice about this – pre COVID. I have no sympathy for LLs who have left this until the last minute. I have been doing these for 20 years, admittedly not every 5 years, but how else do you know the installation in safe? There has been a responsibility to ensure a safe electrical installation under Health and Safety rules so really there is no excuse.

    I expect the same people will be struggling to get their rentals up to EPC C when that comes in claiming there wasn’t enough notice!

  3. I always do mine every 5 years if not earlier.

    New built properties should be fine. However, If we are discussing the majority of the housing stock that pre-date 1950s. These will need complete re-wiring and cannot be done unless properties are vacant.

  4. Sorry COVID-19 landlords aren’t getting paid so why should we do anything the government tell us to. Were not going to gas checks if they don’t listen we wont listen.

  5. So council want the evection period extended until summer the government will find time to put that through parliament but no time to put through extension for the electric certificate, no help for the landlord lot of help for Tennant’s. No justice for landlord.

  6. I agree with Tricia; it hasn’t been that difficult to find electricians in London and Warwickshire to carry out inspections – if you started early enough and made the effort. In one case, it revealed some shoddy early work; thank goodness the installation was made safe.
    It’s a pattern – according to a builder friend, there were plenty of landlords who left the need to get their properties up to EPC E standard until the very last minute. I’m not a fan of this government’s approach to landlords, including the imposition of regulations on the private rented sector but not on social housing, but compliance is compliance and there is actually a very valid case for checking electrical installations, including those in the place where you as a landlord live. We all know that Grenfell spread through the cladding, but we often forget it started with an electrical fault.
    By the way, two of the three checks, and follow-up work, were organised during 2020 and the Covid-19 restrictions. In the other case, we thought ahead and the checks done in late 2019 between tenancies.

  7. I’m in the NW and had no problem getting an electrician for the tests. I had one empty property tested yesterday. Wen I bought the property 9 years ago, I had it rewired. The property failed the test because the consumer unit was loose and the tails hadn’t been replaced (those are the wired that join the consumer box to the main supply).

    The other properties are booked in for late Feb so there’s still time for the tests to be refused by the tenants.

  8. My electrician who has the qualification says many electricians did not go to the expense of qualifying. Some that did don’t like the amount of paperwork or have so much work on catching up after lockdown that they can’t be bothered with the cert work. Many tenants simply don’t answer the the phone for a number they don’t recognise.
    So fewer qualified electricians than envisaged are trying to do more work in a shorter timescale than originally thought adequate.
    So the policy makers have got it wrong but are blaming the landlords. No change there then.
    Certification is a good idea but as usual the people who should be enforcing it against rouge Landlords wont bother as they “cant cope” but ask for more laws to be passed that they wont bother enforcing.
    There are enough Laws already, there should be pressure to make the officials do their duty!

  9. Interesting how none of you commenting on this article, who I presume would consider yourselves to be professional landlords, have noted that the article is factually incorrect and should refer to EICRs (electrical installation condition reports). EICs (electrical installation certificates) can only be accepted in place of an EICR if a property is a new build or had a full rewire!

    • I spotted that error straight away, very poor that LandlordZone can’t get their facts right when they want people to listen to what they say
      I am a qualified electrician that used to conduct about 10 EICR’s a year prior to the law changed, and then things went mad, I have done over 200 since last July and I have to say there is some pretty shoddy housing stock out there, but at least they are now safe for tenants to live in

  10. as a electrician can anyone explain how i can go round every room in a occupied house touch every socket switch in cupboards etc and do it in a covid safeway? that is the real issue here, its not like we are working in one room and the tenants in another out the way, empty properties are fine but occupied ones present real challenges, do i break one law so another can be met! We are allowed to work in others homes but doing a eicr in a covid safe manner is virtually impossible. Deadline should be pushed back until we are all inoculated. If we inadvertently take it into someone’s house and they contract this horrible thing we could be fined thousands and be responsible for someones life

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