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Electrical Safety Testing: The Commercial Landlord’s Guide

By Darragh Timlin on October 22nd, 2022

Landlords are responsible for protecting their tenants from risks, but a tiny minority fail to do so, which puts their tenants’ lives in danger. While getting commercial landlord insurance protects you from the many risks you face as a landlord letting out your property, you still have a responsibility to help prevent accidents happening to the best of your ability.

For example, commercial buildings insurance for landlords will cover your rental property against the costs of repairs or complete rebuild following a major disaster such as a devastating fire or flood that makes the property unliveable. But it is much better to avoid a house fire from electrical wiring faults than to go through the pain and frustration of recovering from a fire emergency.

There are government regulations in place that landlords have to adhere to regarding gas and fire safety and electric shock risks. This means that commercial landlords need to ensure their rental properties are regularly inspected and their electrical installations tested by a qualified, competent person.

This includes having a gas safety test each year and electrical installation testing at least every five years. It is your duty as a landlord to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to your tenants and if requested, to their local authority.

This proves that your electrical installations in your rental properties are safe and you are complying with the new government regulations that came into force on the 1st of June 2020 to help improve safety in the private rental sector.

What legislation covers electrical safety testing for landlords?

The new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require that Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

  • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations, which are published as British Standard 7671.
  • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at an interval of at least every five years.
  • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test, which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
  • Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
  • Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within seven days of receiving a request for a copy.
  • Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
  • Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

What is an Electrical Condition Report (EICR)?

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a report on the condition of an electrical installation. The report is generated following the inspection and testing of an electrical installation to confirm that it is safe for use by building owners, tenants and occupiers.

An EICR helps identify the following:

  • Damage to things like electrical sockets and switches
  • Ensuring the property complies with relevant safety regulations
  • The integrity of the electrical installation

An EICR is used to assess risk and identify and fix any found issues. It can also help develop safety measures to mitigate risks, especially when preparing for remedial building work.

An EICR can confirm that the property adheres to the regulations and current safety standards for rental properties. Should an EICR show that the property doesn’t meet regulations, the landlord could face a fine of up to £30,000.

Do Electrical Condition Reports necessitate inspections?

Regulations require commercial landlords to have their rental properties inspected and tested by a “qualified and competent” person every five years. This means landlords need to find suitably qualified electrical safety professionals to inspect and test their rental properties.

Landlords can do this through search tools such as the competent person scheme, which makes it easier for landlords to find an appropriately qualified professional to carry out their electrical testing and certification.

What happens after an unsatisfactory EICR?

Should a landlord receive an unsatisfactory EICR, the report will show what remedial work is needed to bring any electrical issues up to code. Landlords must provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days of completing the work.

The landlord must keep a copy of the EICR to give to the electrical inspector during the next inspection and test.

Is there a certificate for a satisfactory EICR?

An EICR is a report used to find potential dangers associated with a property’s electrics and give recommendations for possible action to be taken.

When electrical installation inspection and testing occur, and all is found well, the electrical engineer conducting the testing will issue the landlord with a report that acts as your certificate to show that testing has taken place and your property has passed inspection.

Conclusion

While you have a duty as a landlord to do everything in your power to protect your tenants from the risks of electric shock and electrical fires, it still makes good business sense to protect yourself with insurance for commercial properties.

You can include commercial landlord building insurance in your policy along with other essential elements that will help to cover your costs in an emergency. Landlord insurance is just one way to protect yourself and your livelihood from risks.

Meeting your gas safety and electrical safety testing compliance is required by law, and ensuring your rental property is as safe for your tenants as it can be will help prevent you from falling foul of government regulations and reduce the risk of you needing to make a claim on your landlord building insurance. Are you aware of the potential risks your business faces? Talk to our business insurance specialists at Brisco Business to assess your needs.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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