Problem getting access for EICR remedial work

by Readers Question

16:28 PM, 28th September 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Problem getting access for EICR remedial work

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Problem getting access for EICR remedial work

We recently had an EICR, which highlighted some C2 failures. It was difficult to arrange the EICR, and now proving even more difficult to agree on access with the tenant for the remedial work. Being fairly minor in nature, these are not major issues that will take a long time or cause great disruption.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, halfway through now, to get all issues resolved within the 28 days of the original EICR. As we understand it, at that point as Landlord, we could be breaking the law and subject to fines of up to £30,000.

Does anyone have comments on liability or the best way to proceed?

Many thanks

Angus


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Comments

Lindsay Keith

9:12 AM, 29th September 2020
About 4 weeks ago

You don't explain the nature of the difficulties, please be frank and open. Is T being awkward, if so, why? Cannot you work together to achieve what is a mutually beneficial result? To be at risk of a substantial penalty because of T's refusing access is monstrous and against the terms of the lease or AST? Suggest get full facts together and go to 'Legal Advice'?

Seething Landlord

10:25 AM, 29th September 2020
About 4 weeks ago

My interpretation of the position under the regulations is:
1: If you fail to carry out the remedial work within the specified time limit you will prima facie be exposed to a financial penalty
2: You will need to send a copy of the original report with written confirmation from a qualified person that the work has been carried out AND that the electrical safety standards are met to the LHA within 28 days of completion of the work
3: Submitting the paperwork will provide the evidence that you have breached the time limit
4: If the LHA pick up on this breach they MAY impose a financial penalty i.e. it is at their discretion
5: The regulations provide relief for failure to comply with a remedial notice:
"(2) A private landlord is not to be taken to be in breach of the duty under paragraph (1) if the private landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with that duty.
(3) For the purposes of paragraph (2), where a private landlord is prevented from entering the residential premises to which the duty under paragraph (1) relates by the tenant or tenants of those premises, the private landlord will not be considered to have failed to have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the duty under paragraph (1) solely by reason of a failure to bring legal proceedings with a view to securing entry to the premises."
6: The Guide for Local Authorities (similar wording in the Guide for Landlords) includes the following:
"As set out above, a landlord is not in breach of the duty to comply with a remedial notice if served, if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.
A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation is in a
good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous safety reports."
7: Although the provisions in 5 and 6 above only apply to failure to comply with a remedial notice it could be expected that in exercising their discretion over whether to impose a penalty for other breaches and the amount thereof the LHA would take those same factors into account
8: All that any landlord can do to mitigate or eliminate his exposure to a penalty in the event of difficulty in complying with the regulations is to take all reasonable steps to comply and keep evidence that he has done so.

SouthWestern

13:34 PM, 5th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

@Seething Landlord that's very helpful.
Since you posted we have had a very frank exchange with the tenants and have been able to get access to resolve some of the issues. One remains, which the electricity company will try and gain access to resolve today. The issue is that the tenant does not want the power to be cut as they are working from home, and refuse access on that basis.
I am keeping all communication to email if possible, and mailing to confirm our conversations. So hopefully we have an adequate audit trail if we can't get this resolved in time.

SouthWestern

18:30 PM, 14th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Just to finish the story...
The electricity company (SSEN) gained access this time and fixed their problem. Getting access for a re-run of the EICR was then an issue but fortunately a different electrician (that's another story!) agreed to do this after work hours at 18:30 which the tenant accepted. So with just a couple of days to spare before the legal deadline - we have an EICR.
Thanks for the advice. And one more bit from me:
Some electricians will carry out a pre-EICR check which means any problems can be raised before the clock starts ticking. May not be the cheapest way to do it, but gives plenty of time to schedule non-urgent repairs.

Seething Landlord

19:01 PM, 14th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by SouthWestern at 14/10/2020 - 18:30
Thanks for the update. The other benefit of having a pre EICR check is that hopefully you will never receive a report with C1 or C2 findings and will not therefore have to send it to the LHA unless they ask for it.
I think I suggested that strategy on another thread.


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