EICRs  – communal areas?

by Readers Question

9:39 AM, 18th December 2020
About 2 months ago

EICRs – communal areas?

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EICRs  – communal areas?

This question relates to EICRs in blocks of flats where there is a separate metered supply to each flat with the meters all located in one place, perhaps near the main entrance plus a communal supply for lighting the communal areas – staircases, landings etc.

According to the regulations, the inspection by each landlord should include the wiring from the meter to the consumer unit in the flat as:

“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))

But under the Regulations responsibility arguably also lies with each landlord to ensure the safety of the communal installation, arrange periodic inspections and provide copies of the report to each tenant as “residential premises means premises all or part of which comprises a dwelling” (Housing and Planning Act 2016 S122 (6); “dwelling” includes a dwelling-house and a flat (Building Regs 2010 S2 (1); so the whole block could fall within that definition.

This responsibility should normally, I assume be picked up by the management company as agent for each owner but does anyone have a view whether the obligations under the Regulations do in fact extend to the communal installation and if so, whether a copy of the EICR needs to be supplied to each tenant in addition to the EICR for their particular flat? What about penalties for non-compliance? Who is responsible?

Many thanks

Seething

Comments

Graham Bowcock

14:39 PM, 18th December 2020
About 2 months ago

I will leave it to to others with more knowledge of the regulations specifically, but notwithstanding what they say, the management company has an obligation to ensure the safety of communal areas. Therefore there should be checks of these, with remedial work done to ensure compliance.

The individual flat owners (whether landlords or owner occupiers) do not technically have access to the installation in the communal (freehold) part of the building. They have no particular rights to inspect cabling and the like outside of their own flat. In fact, if they do "interfere" with it, they may actually be liable in the event of an accident.

I have never considered that a tenant should receive an EICR for the communal area.

Freeholders and leasholders need to have some joined up thinking to make sure that all areas are safe.

Puzzler

16:26 PM, 18th December 2020
About 2 months ago

Communal areas are the responsibility of the freeholder, minimum frequency five years. From the meter to the flat would probably be the landlord but the electrician would advise.

Seething Landlord

18:00 PM, 18th December 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Graham Bowcock at 18/12/2020 - 14:39
"I have never considered that a tenant should receive an EICR for the communal area"
One of the main points of the question is to determine whether that is correct. If they should receive one but one is not provided, the landlord faces a potential penalty of up to £30,000.

Seething Landlord

18:08 PM, 18th December 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 18/12/2020 - 16:26
I agree with your first point, but the regulations, read in conjunction with the definitions quoted, could also be interpreted to impose the same responsibility on anyone who is letting a flat within the building.

Seething Landlord

18:42 PM, 18th December 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 18/12/2020 - 16:26
A further thought - the regulations do not impose any responsibility on freeholders, only on Private Landlords.

Puzzler

7:28 AM, 19th December 2020
About 2 months ago

As Seething Landlord says, there is no requirement to provide it. There is not even a requirement for the freeholder to provide it to the flat owners although they should do so on request and there is a strong recommendation (not a requirement) to have one and failure to do so could cause all sorts of problems if there were an incident and affect the building insurance.

Note some websites, mainly by electricians, have posted an interval of three years, this is not the case.

If you have one, then supply it on request but there is no obligation to do so as part of the new regulations.

https://deacon.co.uk/2017/02/15/maintain-electrical-safety-communal-areas-residential-properties/

michaelwgroves

9:08 AM, 19th December 2020
About 2 months ago

The installation sounds typical of a conversion rather than purpose built flats. In this case, I would suggest it’s a HMO, therefore a communal EICR is mandatory. I’m not sure on any requirements to give a copy to leaseholders, but I should have thought this should be available on request.
All EICR’s must go right back to the meter.

Seething Landlord

9:15 AM, 19th December 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by michaelwgroves at 19/12/2020 - 09:08
Thanks for that but the blocks concerned are in fact purpose built modern flats and are not HMOs.

Seething Landlord

9:27 AM, 19th December 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 19/12/2020 - 07:28
Thanks for that link but of course it predates the current regulations.
I really need to get to grips with the question of whether the current regulations impose a responsibility in relation to communal areas that did not exist before.

Puzzler

9:52 AM, 19th December 2020
About 2 months ago

It does but Deacon insure blocks of flats so if they have not updated it then it probably is still valid. Why not give them a call and ask? Or read the Regulations themselves? The new regulations do not cover communal areas as far as I aware.

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