Tenants are a nightmare for allowing workman in – EICR?

by Readers Question

10:11 AM, 3rd November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Tenants are a nightmare for allowing workman in – EICR?

Make Text Bigger
Tenants are a nightmare for allowing workman in – EICR?

From April 2021 I will need to get an Electrical Condition Report -as the rules have changed and this is needed for existing tenants. The problem I have is that my tenants are a nightmare for allowing workman into the property.

Previously, the EICR was done (or at least obtained) by the tenant’s brother, but the brother only got it for 18 months (via a “mate”). I don’t really want to pay the tenant’s brother a whole load of money – just to get a certificate for 18 months.

So my options are:
a) End tenancy – as they don’t want another electrician to come in and do the work and then re-let once work has been done and the certificate is issued.
b) See if the Brother can get 5-year certificate
c) Get tenants to confirm in writing that they are happy with the electrics as they are (I should point out the electrics were redone in the 1980s – but a previous electrician that came to do the ECR – said electric were old, the wrong colour wiring – my understanding is this changed in 2004 and needed upgrading) and they will not allow any electrician to come into the property to issue a ECR let alone do the upgrade work.

Can anyone help – can I tell the Council that my tenants will not allow access.

Many Thanks

Steve


Share this article

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Comments

Graham Bowcock

9:32 AM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Hi Steve.
Option c is not an option. The tenant cannot certify that they are "happy with the electrics"; they are not qualified to do so, it is up to the landlord to make sure they are safe (which goes beyond happy).
Secondly, the 1980's is a long time ago. It is highly likely that the electrics need a good update. My house is 12 years old and even we had an update two years ago (changing consumer units to metal and replacing spotlights with LED's).

My advice would be to write to the tenant requesting access for your contractor. I suggest you give them options on dates/times and plenty of notice. Explain that the inspection is legally required. If they refuse, keep a record, just in case there is an incident.

If the tenants don't play ball, ending the tenancy at the moment isn't really going to happen. Maybe go along with their contractor, but make sure you get a 5 year NICEIC certificate. Agree the costs directly. This may go some way to dealing with the tenants. If it costs you a bit more than organizing it yourself, you may just have to live with it for peace of mind,

Smartermind

10:22 AM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Graham Bowcock at 04/11/2020 - 09:32
Option B is not really an option either. It's not sensible to be blackmailed into going with the tenant's brother. If there is an issue the brother will deny ever having done the report. Best to get an independent contractor.

Richie

10:33 AM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 04/11/2020 - 10:22Quite right.
Your property, your responsibility & your choice of who you use.
If they say no entry use the electric supplier to gain access tell them that the electrics are old and you believe they need checking. Utility companies have a legal right to enter properties under safety reasons.

Once done and this Covid thing is over get rid of them. Who needs none compliant tenants?

David

12:53 PM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

You also need an electrician qualified to do the inspection. Not all are.

Simon M

13:02 PM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

THis rings alarm bells. Do you do any kind of inspection or have any means to know what's happening at your property? If the brother also arranges gas safety inspections, plumbers and all other trades this situation is only going to get worse.
Option D. Talk to tenant face to face - find out exactly why the tenants are difficult over access - is there a good reason. Be firm. If necessary, be there to allow the electrician in yourself. If you can't get an independent electrician in, you need to create evidence to prove the tenants are refusing reasonable access. You'll have to manage the situation until you can get them out - for which the evidence will be essential.

AlanR

16:11 PM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Check the NAPIT and NICEIC websites to see which competencies are required to do an EICR. For NAPIT I believe that the competency is "EIS". An electrician qualified to do domestic electrical inspection is required, as already stated by David not all electricians are suitably qualified.

Landlord Phil

16:22 PM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I agree with Simon. Why wouldn't they let another electrician in? If they can't give a good reason, then there has to be something going on that shouldn't be. If you can't gain access for the electrician or yourself, I would speak with the police. There could be electricity theft, drug farming or other illegal activity going on. I'm sure that a conversation with the tenant explaining that you intend to ask the police to accompany you for an inspection would either make them relent or cause a stir that will result in breaking the stalemate. It's not a threat, purely an attempt to follow regulations that is being escalated after their unsubstantiated refusal to allow access for safety work.

It's important to get this work done. I had a property fail this week due to high & erratic earth readings. It turned out that only 2 months after the last electrical visit, when all was fine, the property was no longer earthed on the main supply. Needless to say the electrical authorities fixed it instantly & without charge.

I would also end the tenancy to display that you have done all possible to comply with the regulations, they may still hold on despite the escalation. Regrettably, I suspect you may have a less than perfect outcome in this situation. Managing the gap between the end of the tenancy & gaining possession could be your only solution.

Paul landlord

19:29 PM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

There's a whole host of things in there and from experiences i can identify with some and also some questions are raised.
I am a registered building control inspector- electrical- as well as being a portfolio landlord of nearly 30 years.
I find a lot of my own tenants a pain to get tradesmen in unless they see something in it for them- getting my gasmen in for annual gas check is always an issue on some. They've nothing to hide but can't see any advantage for their inconvenience (safety and legal compliance don't count for them).
Electrical inspections are even worse. They take hours, highly invasive- you are constantly running round the rooms of the house multiple times for multiple tests. Their supply is interupted for hours meaning inconvenience for them and sore ears for the inspector ('I've got no wifi, I cant watch Jeremy Kyle, the heating is off' rings in yor ears) And this time of year the daylight hours make it a miserable experience too.
Personally I avoid doing inspections on tenanted properties (both my own properties or customers) this time of year. Not wanting to sound clever but do these in the long warm summer days- tenants a lot less hostile then.
Then a few questions
1) why was it only given 18 months on the last cert? Were the results so bad to warrant a very short period or is it just unjustly generating business- if the latter he needs reporting to his registration body. A reinspection period needs to be justified in line with the condition of the installation- mainly the insulation resistance values which shows how old your cables are dictate this- take the old saying of 'its not the age of the car its the miles on the clock that counts' and apply it to the cables. The IR is your indicator of cable wear and the length of the remaining usable life. Its the only thing on the installation you can't upgrade. When the IR gets low you rewire. Bear in mind the same house if owner occupied is allowed up to 10 year on reinspection. On rentals the max is 5.
2) Old colours wiring in place means cables need changing!! Ha!! Dont tell me you going to fall for that??? But yes we did indeed 'harmonise' with european colours in a transistion period 2004-2005 but that doesn't mean you need to rewire your house!
Finally I can only advise that you keep records of all communications and replies you have encouraging your tenants to allow access, full of flexibility and stating its a legal requirement and for their safety. Its your only defence if you cant get it done on time. Its what i do with this situation on gas certs. Hand delivered letters with witnesses and photos, Emails etc etc. Ultimately you cant force your way in.
If all else fails reporting to your DNO (google yours) that you cant get into inspect and you suspect a potentially dangerous installation is present will get the DNO threatening cutting off the supply- and yes they have the power to do it.

Good luck

Jay James

21:49 PM, 4th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 04/11/2020 - 19:29DNO? Ah, just got it. Distribution Network Operator.

Steve

16:51 PM, 5th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Hi Guys.
Thanks for all the info. I should point out that the tenant is ok for me to come to, and inside the property, and does allow gas inspections etc - it's just I have to be there all the time cos he seems to be worried that contractors will kidnap the children or run off with his wife!
He may be ok with the initial electrical inspection . But my problem will be - if rewiring is needed (which I think it will need), he is really not happy (and more so with the covid situation) with contractors in the property.

His worries seem to be :
- wife and children in property (although kids should be at school and wife works most of the time) and strangers in the household.
- the mess that a re-wire will cause (concrete floors and ceilings - so could be lots of chasing thru plaster and concrete)
- Covid situation (although i guess all contractors will be masked up)
The thing i wanted to know is - if he will not allow electrical work to be done - what can I do?? As the Council obviously want a EICR certificate by 1.6.20 at the latest. But if my tenant won't allow access what can I do and as you say I can't get him to go at the moment.TBH - apart from access issues for contractors (or me having to be there all the time if contractors come in) they are good tenants .

Cheers

steve

1 2 3

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Non-resident Landlord scheme and 6 months rule?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More