EICRs  – communal areas?

EICRs – communal areas?

9:39 AM, 18th December 2020, About 12 months ago 20

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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

by Puzzler

10:03 AM, 19th December 2020, About 12 months ago

I have just checked the legislation and EICR do not apply to long leaseholders therefore cannot apply to communal areas. Also do not apply to registered providers of social housing, among other exclusions.

by Seething Landlord

20:13 PM, 19th December 2020, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 19/12/2020 - 09:52
I have read the regulations and studied them in detail, also commented extensively on this forum and elsewhere from the time that the first draft was published If you read my original question in conjunction with the regulations you will see that the definitions that I have quoted are those referenced in the footnotes to the regulations and according to which they must be interpreted.
It was only on looking up those definitions that it struck me that paragraph 3 (1) could be construed as imposing an obligation on a private landlord who lets a flat forming a part of premises owned by somebody else to comply with the whole of paragraph 3 in relation to the communal areas of such premises, despite the fact that he has no direct control over them.
With all due respect I doubt whether a phone call to a firm of insurance brokers is likely to produce a considered legal opinion on this matter.
I am not aware of this issue having been raised or commented on previously which might be because it has not occurred to anyone or alternatively that I have missed some obvious explanation and am barking up the wrong tree. If, however my interpretation is correct it has far-reaching implications.

by Seething Landlord

20:23 PM, 19th December 2020, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 19/12/2020 - 10:03
I am afraid that this is not relevant to the discussion. Certainly, the Regulations do not apply to Long Leases or the other types of tenancy defined in Schedule 1 but the duty that I am suggesting arises out of the granting of a "specified tenancy".

by Graham Bowcock

21:57 PM, 19th December 2020, About 12 months ago

Whilst the freeholder may not have a strict obligation under the regulations to hold an EICR, they do have a more general obligation to ensure that their property is safe. This is the same obligation that landlords had before the specific requirement fro an EICR came in. Unless the freeholder is an electrician, the only way they can actually confirm safety is by getting an EICR.

As an agent, both of blocks and individual houses, I have always made sure that EICR reports were held, long before it was a legal requirement.

How a leaseholder would enforce against their freeholder is a separate matter.

I do remain of the view, as stated at the outset, that a leaseholder has (legally) got no control over the freeholder's electrical equipment and installation.

What would be interesting is where a freeholder is obviously failing and the leaseholder is aware and is letting their flat out. This could be quite murky.

by Puzzler

6:47 AM, 20th December 2020, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 19/12/2020 - 20:13
You seem to be saying in your OP that the communal areas might be considered part of the dwelling, this is not usually the case and it will be specified in the lease whose responsibility they are. The regulation says "residential premises" so it is a wee bit ambiguous but unless someone is living under the stairs, the communal parts are not part of the "demised premises" to use the old term.

if you want a legal opinion then this is not the place to get one either, but I disagree about insurance brokers. Believe me they have or have access to expert legal draughtsmen, just take a look at your policy or quote. Last time we changed provider they went through everything with a fine tooth comb to ensure we complied and this was one of the things that came up.

by Seething Landlord

9:24 AM, 20th December 2020, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 20/12/2020 - 06:47What I am saying is that the communal areas might be considered part of the residential premises (not of the dwelling/demised premises) and that if so, the duties under Part 2 of the Regulations would apply to anyone who has let a part of the premises i.e. the dwelling/flat/demised premises.
There are practising lawyers who comment on this forum regularly and my hope was that somebody would either confirm my interpretation or point out the flaws in it.
From a personal point of view it is not really important as I am in a position to ensure that an EICR is produced for the communal areas of the blocks concerned and it will be easy enough for me to give a copy to my tenants. To be on the safe side that is what I intend to do.

by Gunga Din

21:50 PM, 29th January 2021, About 10 months ago

I too have been through the .gov sites about EICRs, and wondered whether my three story Victorian terrace houses, each with three flats or two flats and a shop, need an EICR for the communal areas. The landlord's meter supplies stairway/landing lighting, emergency lighting and the smoke alarms.

by angela

11:37 AM, 30th March 2021, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 18/12/2020 - 16:26
The flats in question are all freehold, managed by an agent, I think a lot of landlords will not even remotely think about communal electrics, as you say generally the properties are leasehold. talk about a barrel of worms. For a further example, for some reason which I cannot fathom, our communal electrics come from one of the privately owned flats in the block!!

by Gunga Din

11:49 AM, 30th March 2021, About 8 months ago

That would have saved the cost of an extra dedicated supply. One of mine uses such a tactic, I put it through its own meter, and pay the tenant for the usage.

by Teimoor

2:39 AM, 7th April 2021, About 8 months ago

The Legal requirements for electrical safety are dotted around a number of pieces of legislation, including Acts of Parliament and regulations (statutory instruments). The main ones include the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Electricity at Work Regulation 1989 (EAWR), and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
Asides from the main ones above there is also a "common duty of care" to anyone who visits the building/ traverses across the freeholders retained parts (communal areas) which is covered under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and the Occupiers Liability Act 1984.
Periodic Fixed Electrical testing of the communal electrics (fixtures and fittings) is considered mandatory. Normally not required up to ten years after a new build has been commissioned and subsequently 5 yearly or as the qualified electrician has stated in their previous certificate (not more than 5-year intervals)
I think there is a little confusion with regards to the terms used in various sources - "Landlord" can refer to the owner of a flat letting out the flat to tenants. However when viewed as part of the building, they are not Landlord, they are leaseholders, in the context of communal parts the Freeholder is the "Landlord". Even if you own share of freehold, you are not the landlord, the power of the Freehold is held in the company incorporated to recognise all shares of freehold and as such has its own liabilities, separate and unique from leaseholders.
Any confusion let me know.
I'm not a solicitor, but I am MIRPM qualified with 13 Years of Experience.


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