BS7671, otherwise known as the Wiring Regulations, recommends a testing and inspection interval of five years, for domestic rental accommodation, with a more limited ‘annual check’ each year.
While this is not a legal requirement, should the worst happen as a result of an electrical fault or defect at a property you own, evidence that you have complied with this recommendation will provide you with a complete defence against a charge of gross negligence manslaughter or a claim for personal injury in the tort of negligence.
In our experience, there are three types of landlord:
The first, does not bother to keep their property ‘in test’, and only engages an electrician to undertake ad hoc repairs to their investment property when a fault actually occurs. In our experience, these landlords tend to treat the recommendations of electricians with a high degree of scepticism and are usually of the view that if everything appears to be working, then no maintenance work is required.
The second type of landlord is fully aware of the importance of keeping their rental property ‘in test’ but treats this obligation merely as a formality—one of the costs of being a landlord. These landlords are not really interested in the actual health of their electrical installations; they simply want to obtain evidence that they have discharged their legal obligations. This type of landlord is likely to choose the contractor who can provide a survey as quickly as possible and at the lowest price and are happy to agree to the testing limitations which are suggested by these unscrupulous contractors, such as ‘inspection by sampling’, where only 10% of the installation is inspected for faults.
The third type of landlord understands the real value of a thorough electrical survey. While they are acutely aware of their legal obligations, their primary concern is to make sure that their electrical installation is functioning safely and properly. They want every part of their property to be inspected and tested so that all faults, however minor, can be identified and rectified now, before they escalate and cause expensive and irreparable damage or premature degradation in the future.
So, which of these three types of landlord do you think enjoy the greatest cost savings?
If this was a race to profitability, then there is no doubt that the first type of landlord has a distinct advantage over his more prudent counter-parts; that is, at least, until one of his tenants gets an electric shock, the Health and Safety Executive is called in, he is investigated and finds himself in front of a tribunal fighting criminal or civil charges.
At this point, the second type of landlord will be feeling pretty proud of him- or herself; that is, until a fault arises in that 90% of their installation which was not tested or inspected during their last electrical survey, and they are forced to explain to the same tribunal why they signed a form instructing their contractor to limit their inspection to 10% of the property, a technique which is only appropriate for the vary largest properties or commercial premises: “I didn’t know what I was signing!” they invariably exclaim!
That leaves the third type of landlord as the last man or woman standing. The winner by default. They are fully protected from legal liability and have an investment property with an electrical installation which is not only safe but is likely to stay healthy for decades. And, what is more, their complete electrical survey only cost £100.00 or so more than the partial survey secured by the second type of landlord; that’s an annual cost of around £20.00.
Prime Electricians undertake EICR surveys for all types of landlord. However, we NEVER test by sampling, we do not pay lip-service to the requirements of BS7671 and we TAKE PRIDE in identifying every single fault or defect that exists within any property we survey. What is more, we WILL make recommendations which go beyond the minimum levels of compliance recommended by BS7671. We are therefore a little more expensive than some of our ‘competitors’.
SPECIAL OFFER: Book an EICR survey before 30 June 2018 and receive one ‘annual check’ free of charge; that means you will be fully compliant with your testing obligations for the next two years! Click here for more info.