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When the Duty Applies and Transitional Rules

When the Duty Applies and Transitional Rules for Landlords in Edinburgh

3Any tenant under a new tenancy commencing on or after 1 December 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR before the tenancy commences.      

Any tenant under an existing tenancy at 30 November 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR by 1 December 2016 unless their tenancy ends before that date.  

An EICR completed on or after 1 January 20127 completed by a competent person is acceptable, whether or not it in includes a description and location for appliances inspected.    

However, to be acceptable all EICRs completed on or after 1 December 2015 must have a PAT record attached to it that shows their description and location and a certificate for any remedial work that has been done.                                          

The EICR forms were introduced by Amendment 1 to BS 7671:2008 (IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition), which came into effect on 1 January 2012. 
    
Good Practice  

The following guidance is not part of a landlord’s statutory duty but is recommended as good practice.  

Fitting one or more RCDs (Residual Current Devices) into the consumer unit can protect a tenant against electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fires.  An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.  For some properties the absence of an RCD may result in a C1 or C2 classification and if so must be remedied to comply with the repairing standard.  

Before providing portable appliances to tenants, a landlord should check that each appliance has at least the CE Mark, which is product manufacturer's claim that it meets all the requirements of European Union legislation.   Appliances with additional safety marks, such as the British Standard Kitemark or the BEAB Approved Mark tend to provide greater assurance of electrical safety.  The landlord must verify that any secondhand equipment is safe. This will require relevant inspection and testing to be carried out. 

Care should also be taken to avoid counterfeit electrical products.  Counterfeit electrical goods almost always contain incorrect or faulty parts that can overheat or break just days after purchase, increasing the risk of fire or electric shock.  If electrical products are purchased online follow the advice given by Electrical Safety First at http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidesand-advice/electrical-items/safe-shopping/.   

Where electrical equipment is provided, tenants should always be told to read and follow the equipment manufacturer's instructions.  Copies of the instructions should be left in the property so the tenants can refer to them as and when required.  

If a tenancy lasts more than a year, it is good practice to carry out annual visual inspections to detect any damage, deterioration, wear and tear, signs of overheating, loose fixings, or missing parts that may lead to danger.   Landlords’ visual checks should include checks on –  

 Fuse boxes (consumer units) for signs of damage,  

 Light switches and electrical sockets for any signs of damage or overloading,

 Cables to make sure that they are safe and are not damaged,

 Electrical appliances for signs of damage and deterioration and to confirm that plugs and cables are secure, and  

Additionally, it should be confirmed that the following devices operate when their integral test button is pressed at time intervals as specified by the manufacturer of the equipment –  

 Residual Current Devices (quarterly check)

 Smoke or heat detectors

 Carbon monoxide detectors  

Electrical Safety First provides a Landlord’s Interim Checklist which can be used to record a visual inspection.  This is available free online at http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/for-landlords/.   

Landlords and tenants should also regularly check that any electrical appliances in the house are not subject to any current product recall notices or safety alerts.  A significant number of recalls for electrical appliances occur because the items are at risk of catching fire or causing electrocution.  It is good practice to register products at the address of the landlord or the letting agent to ensure that recall paperwork is actioned. Alternatively, landlords can check a free list of products that have recently been recalled by manufacturers which is provided by Electrical Safety First and  is available free online at: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/   

Landlords can register appliances to ensure that they receive notice of any recalls.  This can be done through http://www.registermyappliance.org.uk/ or http://eeesafe.com/register-appliances/.   

Portable Appliance Testing Edinburgh

Portable Appliance Testing  

The EICR covers installations and fixed electrical equipment, a PAT covers appliances.  For the purpose of the PAT, “appliances” means movable electrical equipment.  

A PAT test must be completed by a competent person.  For the purpose of the PAT test this means either –  

 A skilled person (electrically) as set out in paragraph 10 above, or 

 A person (including the landlord) who has completed appropriate training as a PAT tester (see Annex C).  

The PAT test can be completed with a PAT tester device.  Electricians may not hold one of these, but they will have a set of test equipment that allows them to undertake the full range of testing required by BS7671 which is capable of carrying out electrical safety tests on appliances that would verify no danger exists in the event of an appliance fault.     

A PAT test requires a label for each appliance tested.  IET provide forms for providing a record of appliances that have been tested (see Annex D)  

Appliances include –   

 Electrical white goods (such as refrigerators and washing machines),

 Electrical brown goods (such as televisions and DVD players),

 Electric fires that are not fixed in place,

 Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles,

 Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, and

 Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently connected to the electrical installation.  

Any appliance which fails to pass a Portable Appliance Test must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the repairing standard.  

The duty to carry out electrical safety inspections does not apply to appliances that belong to tenants, only to appliances provided by the landlord.    

Frequency of Inspection  

An electrical safety inspection must be carried out –  

 Before a tenancy starts, and

 During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date of the previous inspection.   
  
The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts.  

The electrical safety inspection must be recorded in an EICR and a PAT report.  

EICRs may be appropriate more frequently. The date for retesting appliances is usually set during the PAT test and will usually be more frequent. The minimum standard to comply with the legislation is that inspections must be carried out at least every 5 years, but this does not preclude more frequent testing where appropriate.  

Tenants cannot be required to pay for or contribute towards the cost of an electrical inspection, unless ordered to do so by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.  

If a landlord cannot carry out an inspection because they do not have right of access to all or part of the property, or lack any other necessary right, they are not in breach of their duties in relation to the repairing standard, provided that they have taken reasonable steps to acquire that right.   

Copy of inspection  

The landlord must receive and keep a copy of the EICR and PAT report for six years.  A copy of the most recent EICR and PAT report must be given to a person who is to become a tenant before a tenancy starts.   If an inspection is carried out during a tenancy a copy relating to that inspection must be given to the tenant. 

Electrical Installation Certificate

Electrical Installation Certificate  

In some cases a landlord may have a copy of an Electrical Installation Certificate rather than an EICR.  For example –  

 New build properties should be provided with an Electrical Installation Certificate,

 An Electrical Installation Certificate should be provided when a house is fully rewired.  

An Electrical Installation Certificate includes a recommendation for the next periodic inspection.  For a private rented property, IET guidance is that the recommended period is five years.

A landlord who has an Electrical Installation Certificate for a property can provide this in place of an EICR to comply with this guidance, provided that the date of next inspection indicated on the certificate has not elapsed 

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