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Lockdown makes electrical compliance harder, warns trade body

A trade body says the current national lockdown may make it harder for the lettings industry to conform with an approaching deadline regarding electrical safety.

NAPIT - the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers - is reminding landlords that by April 1 all homes with an existing specified tenancy are required to have in place, or to have carried out, an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

It must be completed by a “qualified and competent person” to abide by the regulations. 

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The new rule states every electrical installation in the residential premises must be inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years, and if the resulting EICR is found to be unsatisfactory then remedial and further investigative work needs to be completed within 28 days of the report being carried out.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 were published in January 2020, when Covid-19 was unknown. 

NAPIT says the nationwide restrictions in place now have undoubtedly made complying with these regulations more challenging than was intended, due to restricted access to homes, restricted working, shielding, isolating and anxiety. 

However, the safety of people in their homes is paramount to the government who have made it clear that all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure the electrical safety of privately rented homes. This is set out in Part 3, section 5 of the Regulations. 

The government have also made clear that during the current national lockdown, those who cannot work from home, including those working in construction can go to work, meaning that electrical contractors are still able to undertake electrical inspection, testing, installation and remedial work in dwellings. 

However, to blur the picture slightly, the government’s new guidance for local authorities on the enforcement of standards in rented properties, states in relation to the Electrical Safety Regulations: “A landlord would not be in breach of the duty to comply with a remedial notice if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.”

It goes on to say: “A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with engineers 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.”

 

NAPIT’s advice to the sector is: “With the above in mind, landlords and letting agents should remain vigilant and focussed on doing all they can to ensure any property with an existing specified tenancy has an electrical inspection and test carried out or in place for compliance with the Regulations before April 1 2021, but should be comforted by the government guidance which acknowledges the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in and provides a reasonability clause to prevent landlords from facing enforcement action when they have done all they can to comply.”

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    I've been steadily working through mine and am down to 3 to be done by April, so should be there okay

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    This electricians' trades organisation states that landlords should 'take all reasonable steps to comply ' to ensure electricians' safety when doing electrical work. Of my two electricians' visits recently, neither wore a face mask inside the property or made reasonable attempts to keep two metres apart from those inside the properties. This organisation should be advising its own members, not just telling landlords what to do.

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    All the electrical trades bodys do give regular onerous advice to their members on working in a covid safe manner. I know because as well as being a portfolio landlord I am a regustered sparks.

    But just like everything else it comes down to the individual. The government gives covid advice to the public but we all see the non compliance.

    Not sure why you having a go at an organisation thats trying to throw you a lifeline if like me you find your tenants wont allow access?

     
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    No mask in my houses and they leave IMMEDIATELY - No question at all. I want to see the masks being worn before they come through the front door.

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    The Government's guidance states “A landlord would not be in breach of the duty to comply with a REMEDIAL NOTICE if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.”
    This assumes that the EICR has been carried out.
    I have 2 tenants who are flatly refusing to allow electricians in the property to do the EICR in the first place. Am I covered if the Local Authority choose to fine me?

    Bill Wood

    Well spotted. And a good question.

     
  • Bill Wood

    I have one house where the husband works remotely at home as a teacher and examiner. The wife is a nurse and works at night in a hospital (not sure which type of ward, don't like to ask) and sleeps during the day. They have three children, the eldest around 11 years old. The engineer carrying out the EICR checks and remedial work (of which there is sure to be some) will need a couple of days at least. How can this be organised safely, effectively, conveniently? I reckon the EICR requirement should be delayed until summer next year, when it will be easier for the family to cope.

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    As usual with Government Guidance it's vague, if it is left to individual Councils to apply their own Policy on this issue, how can a Landlord know how they stand.

    I would like to raise another issue whilst here, this compliance requirement is an Electricians License to rip you off. I have had 3 of my Properties tested so far, 2 were fine but the 3rd one failed. However it should not have failed the Electrician put down code C2, which means unacceptable, when in fact it should have been C3 Improvement recommended, he then offered to rectify the non-existent problem for £180.00. I am a retired Electrician so pulled him up on this, he will not now respond to any means of contact. There are several reports of Landlords being ripped off by Electricians on the OpenRent Forum. Landlords should Post this problem on as many discussion sites as possible, and complain to their MP's about this dreadful situation the Authorities have imposed on all Landlords.

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    Can you not report him to his trade body?

     
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    There will always be those out there that will rip their customers off, I have been using the same electrician for 10 yrs now and trust him 100% in return I pay him the same day that I receive his invoice

     
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    I do the same but many of my tradesmen are about to retire, so I'll need to break in a whole new generation of 50 year old whipper snappers!

     
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    Robert, I have been having that problem also , carpenter died ,but he was 94, solicitor and plumber retired, all 3 I had used for the past 30 yrs +, that's the problem of getting old everyone else does as well.

     
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    Lets live in the real world please- in every trade and indeed in every walk of life you are going to find dishonourable people that want to take you for a ride and rip you off if they can get away with it. Lets not be naive

     
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    @ Paul Hart, agreed, I have 2 quotes tonight for the same roof overhaul, one at £8400+ vat the other for £4200+vat, some one trying to take me for a c*** ??

     
  • Bill Wood

    I have struck lucky here. I discovered by accident that my daughter's husband's Best Man (and presumably life long friend) is a self employed electricion doing exactly this sort of work. He has proved very dilligent and professional, and will hopefully be around to help me for as long as I'm in this business.

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    Hi Paul
    I am hardly naïve, been in and around the Construction Industry all my working Life. Built up my Lighting Company from scratch, which was very successful. I may now be retired but it does not mean I have to let so called Trades People take me for a ride. It seems Gas Engineers, Plumbers and Electricians are the worst of the Trades. if we just accept that as Landlords we are fair game, where will this end, we all need to complain the Trades body's etc and keep it in the Public Eye.

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