One of the most important safety measures anyone can take when it comes to their home is ensuring the property’s electrics is safe. After all, electrical hazards can prove lethal, so it is vital that electrical safety is taken seriously.
But who legally needs an Electrical Safety Certificate and what is recommended for those who are not technically obliged to have this cert? Let’s take a look.
Who Legally Needs an Electrical Safety Certificate
Note: Of course, an Electrical Safety Certificate and EICR can only be produced by a professional electrician following all the necessary tests to generate these documents. This is certainly not DIY work.
For starters, landlords and those who own a house in multiple occupation or HMO are legally required to have an Electrical Safety Certificate (followed by an EICR – more on that shortly) at a bare minimum.
An Electrical Safety Certificate involves having all electrics within the property checked. The EICR or Electrical Installation Condition Report is a recording of the results from the electrical tests that have taken place.
In other words, the EICR is an intricate part of the process and acts as a record that acts as a way of turning the Electrical Safety Certificate into a written report/documentation. Basically, they are virtually one and the same.
Since 2021, landlords must ensure that all the properties they are renting receive an electrical inspection and EICR every five years or sooner if there is a change of tenants within the given five-year period.
As a side note, it’s important to note that, in most of the UK, PAT testing (another type of electrical safety testing) is not required in general, even in the case of landlords or households in multiple occupation.
The only exception is Scotland where PAT testing can be a legal requirement. If you live in Scotland and want further clarity for your specific situation, you should consult with your local council to find out if and how often PAT testing is needed for your home/property/properties.
Also, on the matter of local councils, no matter where you live in the UK, in some scenarios, local councils can request that a PAT test be performed in cases of certain licensing schemes. If this may apply to you and unsure where you stand, again checking with your local council can hopefully provide clarity.
With all that said, even when Electricity Safety Certificates and EICRs are not needed, there are many recommendations that apply all the same.
Also, even where not required, all households are expected to take suitable precautions and ensure they do not allow their homes’ electrics to become unsafe. If your home electrics are becoming unsafe you are expected in the eyes of the law to have this addressed by a qualified electrician ASAP. Beyond that, even if you suspect your electrics may be unsafe, you should have an electrician come out and perform tests to check the status of your home’s electrics in general.
Recommendations For Those Who Are Not Technically Required to Have an Electrical Safety Certificate
Note: Again, even in cases of the average household, an Electrical Safety Certificate and EICR may only be produced by a professional electrician following all the necessary tests to generate these documents.
If you are not legally required to have an Electrical Safety Certificate (e.g. you are not a landlord nor do you have a household in multiple occupancy – i.e. just you or/and other members of your household are living in your home), important recommendations still apply, and you really should pay attention to them.
After all, just because something is not legally required does not mean it doesn’t matter as far as safety goes.
Here are some key recommendations to consider:
- Even if not legally required, you should still receive an Electrical Safety Certificate and EICR at least once every five years or sooner if necessary. *
- If you plan to sell your house, you should get electrical safety tests as performed by a professional electrician before receiving your Electrical Safety Certificate and EICR as a result of the tests performed. This is because, while not necessary, the certificate and EICR can help speed up the process of selling your property, in part because they may be expected.
*If unsure as to whether it’s time to get an Electrical Safety Certificate, consult with an electrician.
Ultimately, having the right electrical safety tests performed every five years or sooner if deemed necessary or recommended can keep you and everyone in your household safe.
While perhaps not legal requirements in your case, it is strongly advised that you get an Electrical Safety Certificate and EICR at least once every five years. After all, electrical hazards can prove fatal so keeping on top of these safety aspects is important.
To conclude, if still in doubt as to what is legally required in your case or what is recommended, consult with a qualified electrician or/and your local council (best to check with both to cover everything – the legal and practical concerns alike).
By consulting with an electrician and your local council, you can hopefully get absolutely clarity as to where you stand and what is needed and when.