Guide to Electrical Installation Condition Reports

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) – also known as an electrical safety certificate – is an in-depth assessment of your home’s electrics. It checks for any damage, defects or deterioration that you should be aware of, as well as ensuring everything is up to scratch. In other words, it makes sure that you are safe.

It’s an important document worth knowing about. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Electrical Installation Condition Reports.

In this guide, we cover:

  1. If you need an EICR as a landlord or a homeowner.
  2. What an EICR involves and who should conduct it.
  3. How often you should get your property inspected.
  4. What to do if you fail your report.

Do I need an Electrical Installation Condition Report?

Should you have an EICR? Yes.

Do you need an EICR? Well, that depends. Are you a homeowner or a landlord?

Do I need an electrical certificate as a landlord?

The short answer is yes.

Landlords in England are legally required to:

  1. Have the electrical installations in their properties inspected by a registered electrician.
  2. Provide a copy of the EICR to their tenants.

The regulations, which came into effect on the 1st of June 2020, apply to new tenancies from the 1st of July 2020 and existing tenancies from the 1st of April 2021.

Landlords who don’t organise an EICR risk a fine of up to £30,000.

Similar rules have existed in Scotland since 2015 (where landlords are also required to arrange a PAT test). In Wales, there is no such legal requirement but landlords are strongly encouraged to obtain an EICR.

The long answer is that there are exceptions to the rule, as well as a list of requirements that a landlord must fulfil. For more information on the regulations and how it affects you, read the government’s guidance.

Exceptions or not, landlords should conduct an EICR on all properties under their control to confirm the electrics are safe and there is no risk of harm. Failure to do so could result in charges of negligence and non-compliance with Electrical Safety Standards if a tenant is harmed. What’s more, insurance companies are increasingly looking for proof of an EICR when establishing the scope of their coverage.

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Do I need an electrical certificate to sell my house?

No, you are not legally required to have an EICR to sell your home.

But it will make the process a lot easier if you do.

More and more buyers are asking to know the condition of a property’s electrics before they move in. In turn, they’re increasingly asking for an up-to-date EICR as part of the conveyancing process.

Firstly, they want peace of mind that they’re safe; and secondly, they want to check that they aren’t taking on any problems.

Whether you’re renting, selling or just enjoying your home, it is important to keep an eye on your electrics and make sure it’s still up to the task of looking after you.

You don’t even have to do it that often.

How often should I get my Electrical Installation checked?

The NICEIC and Electrical Safety Council recommend that an EICR be carried out every:

  • 5 years for privately rented properties (or before a new tenancy, whichever comes first)
  • 10 years for owner-occupied properties

However, it is also recommended that your electrics be inspected and tested:

  • If you’re selling or buying a home
  • You’re having major work done (rewiring, new consumer unit, extension)
  • If you’re worried something is wrong
  • You have experienced a fire or flood

An EICR should only ever be carried out by a qualified, registered electrician who can self-certify that your electrics (and their inspection) meet the necessary standards and regulations. Post a job to find a registered electrician near you.

What does an EICR involve?

The purpose of an Electrical Installation Condition Report is to ensure that you and your home’s electrics are safe. It involves testing the condition of a property’s electrics according to the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations – the BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations) – and checking if it complies.

This entails:

  • Assessing the age and condition of your wiring system.
  • Checking the adequacy of the earthing and bonding to prevent electric shocks.
  • Checking that your fuses, circuit breakers, switches and other power conductors are up to scratch.
  • Ensuring the ongoing serviceability of your switches, sockets and light fittings.
  • Assessing the extent of any wear, tear, damage or other deterioration.
  • Checking whether your wiring is readily and sufficiently identifiable for future inspections, testing, repair and maintenance.

An electrician is looking for signs of non-compliance (defective electrical work, potential risks of electric shock, fire hazards and wear and tear that pose a danger). The reason being, an EICR contains useful observations about the condition of your installation. More importantly, it offers crucial recommendations about necessary or beneficial tasks for improving the safety of your home.

Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a certificate that details the overall condition of your installation and declares it as either:

  • Satisfactory – no immediate remedial action is required
  • Unsatisfactory – remedial work is required to meet regulations

So what happens if you receive an unsatisfactory?

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Failed EICR – what next?

So the bad news is that your report came back as unsatisfactory.

The good news is that you know exactly why.

An EICR contains a coding system, against which the electrician marks each of the elements mentioned above. The classification codes are as follows:

  • C1: Danger exists requiring immediate remedial action and the persons using the installation are at risk.
  • C2: An observed defect is not considered dangerous at the time of the inspection, but will become a real and immediate danger if a fault was to occur in the installation.
  • C3: An observed defect is not considered a potential danger, but improvement would significantly enhance the safety of the installation. F1: Further investigation is required.

Generally, the electrician who conducted the inspection will provide a quote for the C1 and C2 remedial work. However, it is your responsibility to organise the work.

That said, privately occupied properties are under no legal obligation to have any of the issues fixed. Official guidance merely recommends you do so as a matter of health and safety.

Landlords, however, have different obligations.

Under the new regulations, landlords must complete the recommended remedial work within 28 days of receiving the report (or shorter if specified). What’s more, they must provide written confirmation to both their tenants and the local authority that it has been completed.

If a landlord fails to comply, the local authority will seek remedial action on behalf of the tenants and penalties may be imposed. For more details on the obligations of landlords, check out the government’s guide.

It may be tempting to put off any remedial work until a later date but electrical faults can often hide in plain sight. Don’t wait for something to go wrong before you book the job.

For information on how much an EICR costs, read our EICR cost guide.

To get quotes from electricians near you – post a job now.

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