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Guide to electrical certificates

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need an electrical safety certificate for any homes you own. Read our guide to find out what the check involves.

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need an electrical safety certificate for any homes you own. Read our guide to find out what the check involves.

Written by
Dan Tremain
Energy and business energy expert
Last Updated
26 JULY 2023
3 min read
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What is an electrical safety certificate?

An electrical certificate, or Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is what you’ll be given after a qualified electrical engineer has checked all the wiring of a property.

They will make sure the electrics – including cables, switches and sockets – meet the required safety standards and provide you with an electrical test certificate to prove this.

Do I need an electrical safety certificate?

If you rent out a property, you’re legally required to have an electrical inspection every five years – or sooner if specified in your most recent report.

Having an electrical inspection certificate proves that you’ve taken the necessary steps to keep your tenants safe.

With almost 3,700 house fires caused by faulty electrics in 2021/22, the impact of not having electrical checks can be serious. So much so that if you don’t have a satisfactory EICR, you could face fines of up to £30,000 and your landlord insurance could be invalidated.

And don’t forget that as a landlord you’ll need to make sure any appliance you supply is safe and has the CE marking to show it meets legal standards.

If you’re a homeowner, you’re not required by law to get an EICR, but it is recommended you get one at least every 10 years to make sure your home is safe.

How much does an electrical certificate cost?

The cost of an electrical safety certificate will depend on the size of the property. On average, you can expect to pay around £125 for a one-bedroom flat, up to over £300 for a property with five bedrooms or more. The average cost of an electrical safety check is around £215.

It’s worth noting that the cost of the electrical safety inspection won’t involve fixing any issues or rewiring. You’ll have to pay extra if any additional work is needed to pass the test.

How to get an electrical certificate

To get an electrical safety certificate, you’ll need to book an electrical certificate check with a registered electrician. This ensures your engineer is regulated and works to the BS7671 safety standard. You’ll have to supply a copy of the report to your tenants within 28 days of the inspection.

Like gas safety certificates, it’s a good idea to shop around. Be sure to check what’s included in the price and make sure there are no hidden costs.

What does an electrical safety check involve?

Before you get an electrical safety certificate, your electrical engineer will check a number of potential risk areas. These include:

  • Fuse boxes
  • Sockets
  • Lighting
  • Earthing
  • Bonding.

During your inspection, there are five key jobs your engineer will carry out:

  • Record the test results to make sure everything is safe to be used until the next inspection.
  • Uncover and report any damage or wear and tear that could impact the safety of your electrics.
  • Check for anything that doesn’t meet the IET wiring regulations (this is the UK standard for the installation of electrical wiring).
  • Check for problems that could cause electric shocks or high temperatures.
  • Provide a record of the installation at the time of inspection.

Frequently asked questions

How do I find my electrical safety certificate online?

There is no official online site that registers when electrical certificates are issued. Your EICR should have been emailed or posted to you following the inspection. If you can’t find it, get in touch with the electrician who carried out the check.

Do you need an electrical certificate to sell a house?

You don’t need an EICR to sell your house, but the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting recommends that the wiring in a property is checked every 10 years, or every time you move to a new house.

An EICR is not the same as an EIC (Electrical Installation Certificate), which proves that any electrical installation works were done in line with building regulations. Your buyer’s solicitor may request this to speed up the selling process.

If you are buying a house it is a good idea to have an electrical inspection by a qualified electrician in addition to any homebuyer survey which won't include any electrical tests.

How long does an electrical safety check take?

The time taken to carry out an electrical inspection will depend on the size and age of your property and the number of circuits that need to be checked.

You can expect a small apartment to be checked in about an hour and a larger home to take up to four hours. Your power will need to be turned off for a while during the inspection.

What happens if the electrical safety inspection fails?

If your electrical safety report comes back as ‘unsatisfactory’, you should get any problem areas fixed by a qualified electrician as soon as possible. If you’re a landlord, you must carry out any repairs identified within 28 days of receiving the report. An even shorter timeframe could be specified if the problem is deemed serious.

Once the work is done, the engineer will provide written confirmation that they’ve carried out the repairs and your home is now safe.

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