New EICR to cover any changes made by outgoing tenant?

by Readers Question

10:00 AM, 4th May 2021
About 6 days ago

New EICR to cover any changes made by outgoing tenant?

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New EICR to cover any changes made by outgoing tenant?

If a tenant moves on should I get a new EICR? I presume if you don’t then the landlord becomes legally responsible for any change that may have occurred during the previous tenancy?

I know it’s not normal for tenants to change the wiring, but they do change light fittings and adjust wiring sometimes without informing the landlord.

Is this an area landlords could get caught out with?

Many thanks

Peter

Comments

steve p

22:41 PM, 4th May 2021
About 5 days ago

Ok wow a lot of assumptions being made here, ok I would like to clear things up.. For the record im a fully qualified electrician and landlord.

So firstly a bit of background, as a lot of you probably know the electricians bible is BS7671, this book is written by the IET. To go along with this there is more detail given in other publications by the IET (They like to make us buy lots of books), the book in question is guidance notes 3 which goes into more detail than BS7671 and is a detailed interpretation of the wiring regs in more plain english by the people that wrote the regs.

So guidance notes 3 states that for domestic properties that are rented the frequency of testing shall be change of occupancy/every 5yrs.

This is why as an electrician to comply with the regulations we should be recommending that rented properties have an EICR every 5yrs minimum or change of tenancy, some of the checks carried out suggested by Gary is great bit it does not check some really important tests so cannot be relied upon to say the installation is still safe.

This is nothing new, this has been the recommendation for years, its also recommended that everyone test their RCD's by pressing the test button every 6 months, im an electrician and I have to put a sticker on every consumer unit I install that states this however I don't do it in my own home. Every time you get into a car you are supposed to check the car over for tyre wear etc, nobody does that. Its a recommendation, the IET are covering their asses incase a tenant has done something stupid, the electrician needs to then cover themselves as thats what the IET state we should recommend.

As I said this is nothing new and landlords have been ignoring this recommendation for years, the new regulations do not state you require an EICR at the change of tenancy so just use some common sense, you know your property, check for damage, check for changes, if its been say 4yrs then just get an EICR done anyway as its so much easier when the property is empty.

NICEIC or NAPIT are not trying to further their own or members interest, its not electricians trying to scam you. Its just regurgitating what the IET are recommending, as an electrician that is what we have to recommend because thats what the IET say, if you ignore that recommendation then that's fine but please dont go blaming electricians or competent persons schemes or thinking its some swiz to get you to do more EICR's.

I hope that explains why that statement is on most EICR forms and why its really not a big deal, its still a recommendation if its stated on you EICR or not and its still your decision if you act on that recommendation.

Seething Landlord

23:56 PM, 4th May 2021
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 04/05/2021 - 22:23
As one of your 'know all know nowts' I confess that I have no particular knowledge or understanding of BS7671 and all my comments are based on the wording of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

The Regulations say that a landlord must "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".

"Change of occupancy" is not a date, it is an event. If the legislators had intended to require a new inspection on change of occupancy they could easily have done so, but they did not. They included only the "at intervals of no more than 5 years" wording.

Your experience of dangerous DIY work is an example of a situation created by someone else but which puts the landlord in breach of his duty to "ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the residential premises are occupied under a specified tenancy".

Gary Nock

0:41 AM, 5th May 2021
About 5 days ago

"Well you all seem to be experts in this I'm impressed!!"
Nobody says they are an expert. It's a landlords forum. But being as you do, the definition of an expert is:
"someone who knows more and more about less and less"
So take your condescending tone and " holier than thou" platitudes" elsewhere. I have been on this forum since it was initiated and have no desire to be insulted and ridiculed by such "experts" as you. It's your
" expert" opinion and mine is mine. And British Standards are not law. Statute is.

steve p

15:34 PM, 5th May 2021
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 05/05/2021 - 00:41
Gary, Both Paul and myself who are electricians have given the exact same information. I am not sure who your rant was aimed at but guessing Paul. We all as landlord get annoyed and think its totally unfair that people see us as money grabbing scum of the earth. Yet you made some wild accusations about electricians and the Competent persons schemes that were in the same vain..

Although I think my response was more measured I can understand the frustrations of electricians when landlords think they know better and just want a pass, I have heard of landlords only willing to pay electricians if they give them a satisfactory. Now this is a minority but you demanding or threatening an electrician if they dont take some wording off that is totally inline with the industry body is the sort of behaviour that gets landlords a bad name.

I don't quite understand your rant about experts, I can only assume about Paul but personally I have all the relevant qualifications to be called a fully qualified electrician, unless you have qualifications beyond both mine and Pauls and can come back with a valid argument to your comments I would consider us to have more expertise in the area than you do.

I don't wish to ridicule you and I don't think that was Paul's intention although his language was maybe a bit more combative that necessary. Our "expert" opinion as you call it is based on being qualified and backed up by evidence, I would be happy to listen to your argument if you could back it up with qualified arguments that are backed up by evidence.

You are correct the British Standards are not law, they are a guide, and as an electrician we can deviate from them however if we do then we are taking all the liability if something goes wrong, by following BS7671 as an electrician we can be sure to meet other statutory laws such as electricity at work regulations and cover ourselves that the installation is safe, I am not sure where you are going with this argument as I doubt you would find an electrician in the UK fully qualified and registered with a CPS that will say they don't bother about BS7671 as its not law. Ill tell you the real reason its not law, because if it was then the information would be free, however by making it non-statutory it means every few years when they change the regs just a little bit they can fleece electricians for hundreds of pounds for new set of books.

You are correct this is a landlords forum, I have gained a lot of really good information from people that have expertise often as a first job in matters of tax or law etc and to give back the are that I can give expertise is electrical safety so I try to on this and other forums give information that I would normally charge customers for free. I mean no disrespect but the information you have given is not correct and not helpful so yes we will call you out on it, sorry if that upsets you.

Chris @ Possession Friend

19:36 PM, 5th May 2021
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 04/05/2021 - 23:56
Yes, Seething, and to go back to the MOT analogy, a new owner ( within 12 months might make some 'repair' but the legal period remains 12 months ( similarly it is a vehicle owners liability to ensure the vehicle is road worthy and legally compliant - without referring to change of ownership )

Gary Nock

19:46 PM, 5th May 2021
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by steve p at 05/05/2021 - 15:34
Well Steve as I have said we all have opinions. I am qualified in lots of things and on various forums I don't ridicule and condescend. I assist. And to be honest having been a 118 member and sponsor for many years it's time to hang up my hat. So goodbye to you all I'm gone.

Seething Landlord

11:42 AM, 6th May 2021
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 04/05/2021 - 22:23
Could you please explain what is meant by the "routine check which should be carried out annually".

Whatever it means, it is another example of something that is apparently recommended by the industry regulators but not not included in The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

It seems to me that much of the controversy surrounding this whole subject area arises from the assumption by electricians that under the testing regime created by the Regulations the "report" should follow all the recommendations and guidance notes from the trade bodies regarding the interpretation and application of BS7671.

The purpose of the report required by the Regulations is to establish that "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" are met. The frequency of testing is not part of "the standards..." and is dealt with specifically in the Regulations, which override any more onerous recommendations that electricians might otherwise work to, such as "on change of occupancy".

Inclusion of the "date of next inspection" is a statutory requirement and the report should not seek to embellish it. If it does it is not surprising that landlords get a bit hot under the collar.

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:57 PM, 6th May 2021
About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 05/05/2021 - 19:46
Your a fighter Gary ( with loads of experience ) not a quitter.

Mike

18:11 PM, 6th May 2021
About 3 days ago

I am of the opinion that if " it ain't broke then don't fix it " and I will say this categorically the more you mess about with testing wiring, the more you are stressing it and making it even more vulnerable to fail and cause danger, wires being removed from sockets and MCBs and so on causes screws to chew through copper conductors making them vulnerable to snap or reduce their cross section area as many stranded conductors are not properly twisted and not all will be under a clamping force, many conductors particularly the thinner solid conductors ones break often when pulling out, one then has to re-strip and this reduces the length of the cable available, many are forced to pull the shortened wires tight into the socket barely able to accomodate sockets back into the back box, so in my view if you do not touch wiring for 20 years nothing can ever go wrong with it and if a socket or a light fitting or its switch is playing up, send in an electrician to just replace or rectify just that fault, there is no need to put wires under 500V insulation test unless you were having RCD tripping . Quite pointless really. Have you ever seen power companies visiting your homes to test insulation resistance of mains feed coming into your property ever even once, why then is there no regulation to do so when many people have been injured walking on pavements when underground cables have suddenly exploded! But it is a very rare event and it is most likely why these things happen is because they were worked on by cow boy electricians and left joint seals or wires damaged during installation and rain water ingresses in through nicks etc, so the more you mess about with electrics the more danger you are causing, BS standards should only apply at the beginning of new installation and there should be no further requirement to put your electrics through 5 yearly tests, are a major cause of new problems, if once you subject a conductor to a 500V you have effectively weakened it and also when you have subjected cables to maximum load currents during testing, the first time it may not break down, but had been subjected to stress, the 2nd time to even more, and during a real fault the cable can fail. No electricians have to agree to this, the same applies to gas installations, the more you unscrew nuts and bolts the more chance of failure you are creating cross threading, weakening rubber seals, reusing olives, etc etc. stressing pipe joints, causing microscopic cracks in soldered joints during testing installations. I back my argument with my own home wiring conducted 45 years ago, that to date has never failed, only tripped occasionally when the old style filament 100watt bulbs blew up tripping 6A MCBs, also all my ring circuits are protected with 20A breakers not insanely overly rated 32A breakers that is crazy, and very dangerous, as a 32A breaker may require up to 40amps to break off power, wires can get damaged , 20amps is more than adequate as most houses are no longer running Electric fires or fan heaters, all we plug in our sockets is table lamps and phone chargers, BS is not fully wise about the danger of fusing ring mains with 32A breakers it must revise this for safety of occupants, it should be restricted to 20A in my opinion,

steve p

13:37 PM, 7th May 2021
About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 06/05/2021 - 18:11
I think Mike's comments are fair, I would like to explain some points and how I personally avoid those issues.

1 - Taking connections in and out can damage them.

Yes you are totally correct they can be damaged, so there are a couple of dead tests than can mean you need to do this however however I would point out that if you look at an mcb then the terminals are not like a socket they are like two plates that come together to squash the conductor, by not having the screw action the risk to damage is minimal. Part of the testing regime entails connecting to live to cpc for the continuity of earth test and live to neutral for insulation resistance, this can be done on none RCBO boards (99% are non RCBO) by connecting to the busbar and then turning on the mcb, (its all dead), this creates a path to the live without having to remove it from its terminal. When we check the sockets etc we generally dont need to pull them out apart from maybe one to do end to end testing but the risks are minimal and the possible gain of finding an issue far outweighs the negative. Your concern for stranded conductors is founded however best practice now and if I ever do need to remove stranded conductors is I ferrule them up so its not an issue. If cables get so short you need to remake them in most scenarios inline connectors can be used to extend them.

2. If you do not touch wiring for 20 years nothing can go wrong

This is totally wrong, nails put in walls can damage cables, the effects of creep where the heating and cooling can loosen screws so this is not true.

3. No need to subject wires to 500v

The insulation resistance test of 500v is DC not as and is done at very low current so will not damage the cabling, the only damage that can occur is connected loads if doing the test between live and neutral, to avoid this generally on an EICR the live to neutral (Seen as live to live on the sheet) is a limitation, for the live to cpc we connect live and neutral and test to cpc, this means the voltage potential between live and neutral is 0v so will not damage anything. It is an important test to see if the insulation is breaking down or if there is damage to a cable. But I can assure you it will not damage the cable, remember the testers we use generally have about 8 x 1.5volt AA batteries in them, there is no way they would be able to create enough current to damage the cabling.

3. The more you unscrew the more it can cause issues

This is totally correct which is why we use sampling, generally you start with 10% and in most cases that is all that is needed, only if you see issues would you increase the sampling size, this is done to do exactly as you say avoid damage

4. my own home wiring conducted 45 years ago, that to date has never failed

There is a difference between not failing and being safe, normally everything is fine, it is only in fault conditions that it can become unsafe, often that is what we are looking for and yes its unlikely fault conditions will occur however they do occur and its then that it can become dangerous. Tenanted properties can often be more susceptible because changing tenants have different amount of loads and use the electrical system differently which could be more likely to cause an issue on a working but unsafe under certain circumstances wiring.

4. 32A ring is dangerous

Yes and no, the problem with ring circuits is that a cable can break and everything will still work but its not safe, but we have used rings for long time and its only in overload rather than fault short circuit condition that a ring that is broken is particularly dangerous, rings are not dangerous and have been in place for many years and as long as nobody messes with them and they are tested periodically they are not unsafe. Although houses dont have electric fires etc, they do have so much more loads, kettles, toasters, washing machine, dish washer, computers, TV, sound systems car chargers, hobs, ovens etc etc etc. We are using more power in our homes than we ever have.

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