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New EICR Rules: Electrical Checks Become Mandatory for Rented Property from 1st July 2020

Originally published at: https://blog.openrent.co.uk/new-eicr-rules-electrical-checks-become-mandatory-for-rented-property-from-1st-july-2020/

Landlords with properties in England will need to conduct an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in order to let their English properties from 1st July 2020. The requirement will extend to all tenancies in England from 1st April 2021. The First EICR Deadline: 1st July 2020 A Electrical Installation Condition Report must be acquired before…

The majority of my properties are modern (built within the last 10 years) so I have the building regs electrical installation certificates. Do I still need the new EICR check even though I have the build certificates?

Hi Hannah, from what I’ve read, I can’t see any exemptions for your situation in the statutory instrument that is being used to bring about this change in the law.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934

So it sounds like you will need an EICR if starting a new tenancy agreement from 1st July 2020.

Sam

Hi, do you know if renewal of the contract is treated as “new specified tenancy” or existing?

Hi Sam, it’s ironic that a property built in 2018 has a new build electrical installation certificate yet I have to pay again to have a landlord certificate!
Hannah

Hi Hannah, yes it is certainly frustrating for landlords.

One thing I would say is that the government published a report on new-build quality in 2019 and found serious issues. Therefore, to let new builds off the new standards would be to fail to learn from that report.

You can read it here if of interest.

New-build housing: construction defects - issues and solutions (England)

Sam

Hi Agnes, a renewal would be a new tenancy, because it forms a new tenancy agreement between all parties.

Sam

I obtained an OpenRent EICR immediately before my new tenants started in July 2019. I have 2 questions :
a) 1 year later I now need to choose whether to continue the tenancy by letting it rollover into a Periodic Tenancy or to raise a new AST for another 12 months. If I raise a new AST does that constitute “a new tenancy” in the Government’s new EICR rules and therefore does it force me to have another EICR done?
b) When the OpenRent EICR was done the report found no issues but stated a recommended re-inspection date of 3 years not 5. Looking at the Government’s new EICR rules does that mean that I am forced to have the EICR done again at the 3 year mark or can I leave it until the 5 year mark (if the same tenancy has continued that long)?

Sorry, just to be specific in my question a submitted just now.
a cont) But if I allow it to rollover into a Periodic Tenancy does that mean I do not have to have a new EICR done?

Hi Evany,

A tenancy agreement lapsing into a periodic tenancy does not constitute a new tenancy under the new legislation. But you don’t need a new EICR for every new tenancy, anyway. You simply need to have one for the property that is still valid. They usually last 5 years, like how EPCs last for 10 years.

If the report stated to reinspect in 3 years, then I believe that this must be done, since the Act requires the landlord to perform all the work recommended in the report.

Sam

Thank you Sam,
I also checked with the NRLA Members Advice Line. They advised the same basic rule that you only need to have a valid one in place rather than do a new test at the start of each new tenancy.

NRLA qualified the periodic tenancy further. They said that by law a rolled over periodic tenancy is considered to be a new tenancy when the initial tenancy agreement just lapses into a periodic tenancy. They said the law changed about 3 years ago to say this and that’s why they rewrote their Tenancy Agreements to include a ‘Contractual’ clause. This states explicitly that when the initial agreement term finishes it will become a Periodic Tenancy, as opposed to allowing it to naturally roll into one without any mention of it. The tenancy then becomes known as a Contractual Periodic Tenancy. NRLA say this would then be seen in the eyes of the law as a continuing tenancy rather than a new tenancy. For a non-contractual periodic tenancy the landlord would need to reissue all the compliancy documents that a new tenant would require, even though they received them a year earlier, including the latest government How To Rent guide.

On the ‘reinspect after 3 years’ question. The NRLA said that the law states the EICR has to be normally done every 5 years. The adviser said that if the re-test date on the current EICR is only a Recommended date (which it is on my form) and there are no issues raised in the comments section of the form (which there weren’t) then the re-test deadline for me is 5 years not 3.

What do you feel about the NRLA advice above?

Just to be more clear the above sentence should have said
This states explicitly that when the initial agreement term finishes (in the absence of any other action) it will become a Periodic Tenancy, as opposed to allowing it to naturally roll into one without any mention of it.

You have to have one (EICR) by April 2021 anyway for al your tenancies no matter what so it seems like a load of palava over nothing. More work for the boys I suppose. More red tape to catch the little fish out.

Ollie2,

I don’t believe the rules say that.

I believe it says you have to have an active one (younger than 5 years) in place for each existing tenancy so even a 4 year old one at that stage would be fine. It does not say you have to have a new one done by April 2021. It does however say the landlord must ensure the electrics are in compliance with the latest (18th) version of the regulations.

I agree with your two comments “More work for the boys I suppose. More red tape to catch the little fish out.”

I had my last EICR professionally arranged through OpenRent in July 2019. As the 18th version of the regulations became law in January 2019 I felt confident that I would be OK. However, I checked my EICR report today and discovered it had only been certified against the old (17th) regulations. I’ve queried it with OpenRent as it can’t be right that their testing company was issuing EICRs against old regulations. You should check yours.

So with only a 3 year EICR being issued and against old regulations that’s a pretty good way of generating extra re-test business.

Evany

I have read the regulations,The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, and I completely agree with Ollie2’s conclusion viz “you have to have an active one (younger than 5 years) in place for each existing tenancy so even a 4 year old one at that stage would be fine.”

My head hurts.

I read the Gov.uk Guidance for the the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. In the Questions section it covers periodic tenancies as follows,

"What about where tenancies ‘roll over’ into periodic tenancies? Will that count as a new tenancy?**

Whether or not a ‘periodic’ tenancy is a new tenancy, as defined in Regulation 2, depends on the type of tenancy issued.

• For ‘contractual periodic tenancies’ – where it is written in the original tenancy agreement that on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy will become periodic – the periodic tenancy will be part of the same tenancy and no new tenancy will be created.

• For ‘statutory periodic tenancies’ – where on expiry of the fixed term the tenancy rolls over into a periodic tenancy automatically by statute (rather than by contract) – the periodic tenancy will be a new tenancy.

Properties let on statutory periodic tenancies where the fixed term expires between July 2020 and April 2021 will require an inspection and test at this point under the Regulations."

The OpenRent AST does actually mention periodic tenancy in its ‘Interrupting or Ending this Agreement’ section :

“12.2 If the tenancy has lapsed into a periodic tenancy it may be terminated by:

  • the Landlord serving the Tenant at least two months notice in writing under Section 21(4)(a) of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended).
  • the Tenant giving written notice of at least one month and expiring on the last day of a period of the tenancy.”

I would like to know if this clause therefore makes the rollover a ‘contractual periodic tenancy’. If it does then I won’t have to have a new EICR done when the tenancy becomes periodic in a month’s time.

Hi Sam,
I’m renewing my contract with the existing tenant next week, so I will need to get the electrics inspected under the new regulations. However the tenant has refused to let anyone into the property at the moment as she is shielding. I understand her position and don’t want to put any pressure on her so I’ve asked her to email me stating she will not have anyone in the property and the reasons why.
Will this cover me? Hopefully things will change and we will be able to proceed with the inspection in the near future.

Hi Neil, I think this guide will answers your questions on this topic.

Sam

Hi
I can’t see where in the legislation it says you can’t fix the faults identified by the EICR yourself without employing a qualified electrician.
My EICR provider said I can do the repair myself but I would have to get the repair visually checked by a qualified electrician who should give me a certificate of works. I can’t see this requirement in the legislation either.
Once the repair is done you don’t seem to get a clean EICR,
Also I understood that for general electrical repairs a landlord is allowed to replace items, e.g. a light fitting or a socket but not install new items. Is this correct.

Sam, I have also just acquired a new build property. Are you saying I need an EICR CERT? This does seem weird.

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