EICR work required but I have a section 21 problem tenant?

by Readers Question

10:09 AM, 16th February 2021
About 2 months ago

EICR work required but I have a section 21 problem tenant?

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EICR work required but I have a section 21 problem tenant?

Where do you stand if EICR work might need doing, but you have a broken relationship with a problem tenant who scared the electrician away and stated no electrical work will be done in the house?

A satisfactory report was given last June with a recommendation to install sockets in bedrooms due to there only being one socket currently in the bedrooms (this has obviously dragged on so long due to covid). The tenant was served a section 21 for various reasons including subletting, so I had no choice, but to ask them to leave. They are due to leave on the 1st April, but I know they will hang on>

I have the texts from them saying no electrical work will be done. I also had the same issue with the gas inspection due.

Where do you stand with these situations?
Many thanks

Darryn

Comments

Paul Shears

23:07 PM, 16th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Only a matter of time if it doesn't exist already. I intend to be out of here ASAP.

steve p

23:33 PM, 16th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 16/02/2021 - 22:49
If you read the recipient guidance of the IET model forms which is the basis for all forms it states:

The purpose of this Report is to confirm, so far as reasonably practicable, whether or not the electrical
installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service (see Section E). The Report should identify
any damage, deterioration, defects and/or conditions which may give rise to danger (see Section K).

I will avoid going into specific regulations numbers for number of sockets, this is down to interpretation and there are specific guidance in I believe the onsite guide however that is a guidance, what would be ok for one old lady living on her own will not be suitable for a family of 6. Yes its all very woolly but its that way for a reason, it is up to a qualified and competent person to decide. However I will quote electrical safety first which are experts that have interpreted those regulations and provided guides for electricians carrying out EICR's, if you look at the best practice guide 4 on page 17 it states:

Inadequate number of socket-outlets.
(Note: A Code C3 or, where appropriate C2,
if extension leads run through doorways,
walls or windows, or under carpets, or are
otherwise being used in an unsafe manner)

By the way I am a landlord and fully qualified electrician. I cannot comment on the particular property but I can confirm that number of sockets can be taken into account, I have seen kitchens with one double socket, I would C3 that because clearly for most people that is not sufficient, if however I find loads of extension leads used in an unsafe manor such as one ran over the the hob then yeah C2.

Hope that helps clear it up..

clarkydaz

14:13 PM, 17th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by steve p at 16/02/2021 - 23:33
Steve, would the C3 for extra sockets have to be done for the deadline, or could it be held off until hopefully they leave after s21?

steve p

14:27 PM, 17th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by clarkydaz at 17/02/2021 - 14:13
C3 is a recommendation only... You don't have to do it at all, only C2, C1 and FI will cause an unsatisfactory report which then need to be rectified within 28 days.

I would not worry about it too much, if its empty and your going to redecorate etc then yeah that might be a good time to add some extra sockets but no real hurry.

Seething Landlord

0:06 AM, 18th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by steve p at 16/02/2021 - 23:33
Steve, thanks for your reply, which raises several important issues, not least of which is the question of whether the standard EICR (a) meets all the requirements of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and (b) in some respects goes beyond what is actually required.

For ease of reference the following are the relevant bits of the Regulations:

[2. In these Regulations—

“electrical installation” has the meaning given in regulation 2(1) of the Building Regulations 2010;

[N.B. “electrical installation” means fixed electrical cables or fixed electrical equipment located on the consumer’s side of the electricity supply meter; (Building Regs 2010 S2 (1))]

“electrical safety standards” means the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018;

3.—(1) A private landlord who grants or intends to grant a specified tenancy must—

(a) ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the residential premises are occupied under a specified tenancy;

(b) ensure every electrical installation in the residential premises is inspected and tested at regular intervals by a qualified person;

(3) Following the inspection and testing required under sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (c) a private landlord must—
(a) obtain a report from the person conducting that inspection and test, which gives the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test;

(4) Where a report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) indicates that a private landlord is or is potentially in breach of the duty under sub-paragraph (1)(a) and the report requires the private landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work, the private landlord must ensure that further investigative or remedial work is carried out by a qualified person within—

(a) 28 days; or

(b) the period specified in the report if less than 28 days,

starting with the date of the inspection and testing.

(5) Where paragraph (4) applies, a private landlord must—

(a) obtain written confirmation from a qualified person that the further investigative or remedial work has been carried out and that—

(i) the electrical safety standards are met; or
(ii) further investigative or remedial work is required;]

1st point: Note the meaning of “electrical installation” which defines what needs to be tested and inspected – how can this possibly be interpreted to include the presence of extension leads? If the Best Practice Guide that you have quoted from is correct and the adequacy of the number of socket outlets is to be determined by the number and use of extension leads at the time of the inspection it is extending the scope of the report to include something that has nothing to do with the safety of the fixed electrical cables or fixed electrical equipment and should not therefore be included in a report designed to meet the requirements of the Regulations. They might in fact have recognised this because it says on page 4 “The report may be required for one or more of a variety of reasons, each of which may impose particular requirements or limitations on the inspection and testing”.
2nd point: When the inspector assigns a C1 or C2 code he is stating as a fact that the landlord is in breach of the duty under sub paragraph (1)(a) and is therefore potentially liable to a penalty of up to £30,000. “Wooliness” is not acceptable, nor is leaving it to the whim of the inspector, however experienced he might be. If the Wiring Regulations specify the criteria for determining whether the number of socket outlets is adequate we all need to know what they are – once a C2 has been assigned it is too late. If they don’t, the matter should not be mentioned at all in the report.
3rd point: You quote “The purpose of this Report is to confirm, so far as reasonably practicable, whether or not the electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service”, but that is not the purpose of the report required by the Regulations, which is to confirm that the electrical safety standards are met.
No mention of “so far as reasonably practicable” the requirement is absolute and continuous throughout the period when the property is let.

Luke P

3:07 AM, 18th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 18/02/2021 - 00:06
Slightly off-topic, but still EICR-based (and I will attempt to get the detail tomorrow)…two colleagues were part of a webinar yesterday with NAPIT who said, categorically, that certificates last for five years and *not* until ‘change of tenant’ as a couple of ours read and other electricians around the country have done. I mention this as evidence of more woolliness, particularly when the penalties are high.

I’d urge all LLs to check they too don’t have certs with the same expiry, thinking they’re 5-yearly.

Seething Landlord

14:34 PM, 18th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 18/02/2021 - 03:07
It has long been recommended that a visual inspection of electrical fittings and appliances should take place on change of tenancy but it would have been an easy matter to include in the Regulations a requirement for a new EICR at that point if that had been the intention.

Reg (3)(a) says that the report must give the date of the next inspection and test. Is "change of tenant" a date?

"(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(b) “at regular intervals” means—
(a) at intervals of no more than 5 years; or
(b) where the most recent report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) requires such inspection and testing to be at intervals of less than 5 years, at the intervals specified in that report."

I would interpret that to mean that there must be a clearly stated date, based presumably on the condition of the electrical installation, which is the explanation that I have seen given in other discussions for a period shorter than 5 years.

There is some overlap with the HHSRS guidance which mentions adequate number of appropriately sited electrical socket outlets as a way of reducing hazards but that does not seem to be a reason to include it in the EICR. The difference is I think that the EICR, at least for the purposes of the Regulations, should be restricted to assessing compliance with the Wiring Regulations, whereas inspections to assess HHSRS matters need to take account of the way in which the premises are used at the time i.e. including the number of residents, use of extension leads etc.

So there may well be a need to provide more socket outlets in particular situations but on general safety grounds rather than to achieve compliance with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (unless the Wiring Regs include something that has not yet been mentioned).

steve p

15:29 PM, 18th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 18/02/2021 - 00:06
Ill try to answer your points but it does get technical...

point 1: The issue is if you look at BS1363 a double socket is rated at 20A, this is because it is recognised that you would generally never reach the maximum of two plugs (2x 13A = 26A), If you put in two extension leads and overload the double socket then it does have an effect on the overall electrical installation. You also need to understand that a 13A fuse in a plug is designed to allow overvoltages for short periods as electrical equipment such as fluorescent lights or motors have an inrush of current. The issue is that a 13A plug will take way more than 13A before it actually blows. Portable heaters are the worst but you can see how the electrical installation could be overloaded by use of too many extension leads so thats why it needs to be taken into account.

Point 2: I understand the wanting it to be black and white but that is impossible in the electrics if we didnt then every electrical installation would have to be totally overkill and cost a fortune when its not needed. Its not at the whim of an inspector, there are lots of guides but it is down to the inspectors professional opinion based on their qualifications and experience, remember what you are doing is transferring the liability from you as a landlord on to that electrician, 95% of an EICR should be the same whatever the electrician used, however there is 5% of areas where there is some debate and a lot depends on the situation which is where the electrician needs to use their judgement, I personally think there are too many domestic installers doing EICR's that they should not be doing, there should be clearer requirements but that is political. The story within the electrical industry is; The government after Grenfell wanted electrical safety checks, they looked at the electrical industry and saw EICR's and PAT testing, Grenfell was caused by a fridge-freezer, they were going to demand PAT testing however they realised most properties are rented unfurnished so would not help so they chose EICR's which wont do what they wanted and I agree it was the quick easy option and EICR's were never designed for landlords but I dont think its a bad thing as it will improve electrical safety, I do think its odd that as an owner occupier its recommended every 10yrs yet as a rental property that I think gets less messed around with, less DIY bodges its recommended every 5yrs which is what they went with.

Point 3; The regulations were written by bureaucrats that dont understand EICR's or anything electrical and is appallingly worded.

steve p

15:36 PM, 18th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 18/02/2021 - 03:07
Ok I can clear this up..

It is recommended and always has for i dont know how long within the electrical industry that rental properties have an EICR at least every 5yrs and at the change of tenancy... This is recommendations as a guidance and form no legal basis which is why we never had to comply before.

The EICR at least every 5yrs was written into the new electrical safety PRS regulations brought into force in 2020, this means checks at least every 5yrs are now a legal requirement... The recommendations from the electrical industry remain the same..

I would say at the change of tenancy do a visual inspection, look for any damage etc, if you see some alterations or damage then yeah it probably is a good idea to get a new EICR done. If the last EICR was done 3-4yrs+ ago then given its a lot easier to do them when the property is empty, it might be wise to do an EICR but that's just my recommendation.

Paul Shears

15:42 PM, 18th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by steve p at 18/02/2021 - 15:29
Spot on. The problem that keeps being danced around here and elsewhere is the utterly absurd belief that just because someone is trained, qualified and extremely experienced in some area of employment, they have sufficient judgement to do the job even remotely well, if at all. Currently I am trying to find someone capable of installing a garage door and after meeting half a dozen who have been doing the job all day and every day for years, I can’t. A school child could do a better job of assessing the work required than these people. Some of my friends and I have learned this the hard way.

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