Electrical Safety Certificate

Electrical Safety Certificate

An electrical safety certificate is a document that certifies that electrical installations, wiring, and fuses are safe. It is an important part of ensuring that your property is fit to live in. If you are a homeowner (or want to become one), or renting out your property or selling it out, you are legally required to obtain and update an electrical safety certificate.

What is an electrical safety certificate? How do I get one? What exactly is tested when carrying out electrical safety tests? And how often do you need to test your property’s electrical infrastructure?

What is an electrical safety certificate?

It is a document which is issued by a qualified and registered electrician. It is used to determine the electrical safety of your home and ensure that it meets the requirements. It is noticed that an Electrical Safety Certificate can only be issued once an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) has been carried out. Your Electrical Safety Certificate or EICR must be updated regularly and new checks are required every 5 years.

Why is an electrical safety certificate important?

An electrical safety certificate is an important part of a landlord’s legal duty to keep their properties safe and habitable under the Housing (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018. This legislation helps to ensure that privately rented properties are safe to occupy for the duration of the tenancy.

Electrical safety is the most important aspect among all households. According to the Home Office, electrical faults cause more than 10% of house fires in the UK. If electrical wiring is neglected for long periods of time, it increases the risk of electrical fires such as overloaded sockets, exposed wires, or outdated appliances.

What is the Electrical Safety Certificate Act?

There is no specific legislation covering the issue and renewal of EICR certificates. However, the legislation that came into force in June 2020 is made in exercise of the powers in sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016(1) and section 234 of and paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 to the Housing Act 2004(2).

The legislation applies to all new private rented properties from 1 July 2020 and all existing private rented properties from 1 April 2021.

What do the Electricity Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2021 do?

From 1st April 2021, all existing private landlords must comply with legislation requiring them to have regular electrical safety checks carried out by a registered electrician every few years.

The results of these checks must be given to the tenant occupying the property within 28 days. If requested by the local authority, landlords must also provide a copy of the certificate within 7 days.

Landlords must also keep a copy for their archives so that they can always show it to an inspector, the local authority, or a prospective tenant.

What does an EICR look like?

There is no specific format for an EICR. This can be frustrating for some landlords as each electrician’s EICR may look slightly different. However, this is not always a problem. Landlords just need to ensure that the report contains all the relevant information, which we describe in more detail below.

What does the electrical safety certificate show?

To ensure compliance with the legislation, the EICR report must detail all inspections carried out. Where deficiencies or potential problems are identified in electrical safety, the report will detail any recommended remedial actions or improvements that owners will need to take to secure certification, or consider in the future, to make the property as safe as possible.

The purpose of an electrical safety inspection is to:

  • Identify any potential safety risks in the property’s permanent installations (lighting, sockets, fixtures, electrical storage boilers, etc.).
  • Identify poorly carried out electrical work that is dangerous or potentially dangerous.
  • Ensure that electrical circuits or equipment are not overloaded.
  • Ensure that earthing and bonding are carried out correctly and that there is sufficient resistance to trip circuit breakers in the event of an overvoltage.
  • What will be checked and tested?
  • The EICR applies to all ‘fixed’ installations in your home. Essentially this means all parts of your electrical infrastructure that are permanently connected to the property.

This includes:

  • All light fittings
  • All sockets
  • All internal and external wiring
  • Property fuse boxes
  • All permanently connected electrical appliances such as storage heaters, showers, or fans.

The EICR test does not cover portable appliances such as a fridge, washing machine, or electric oven. However, it is a good idea to check these appliances regularly too. Let’s look at them in more detail immediately.