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Peace of mind

Peace of Mind, Legal Compliance: The Role of Commercial EICRs in Property Management

Many businesses around the UK choose to lease a building and it’s property managers like you that are responsible for ensuring a safe environment for your tenant to move into.

Whether it’s a retail space, office building, warehouse or any other type of property, a commercial EICR can give you the peace of mind that the electrical systems within the building are safe and comply with the law.

The Legal Stuff You Need To Know

In the United Kingdom, domestic landlords have been obligated by law to ensure an EICR on every property at least once every five years. However, this law does not apply to commercial landlords. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that, as a property manager, you do have legal responsibilities surrounding the safety of the property and that includes any electrical equipment or systems. 

There are laws in place that state commercial properties must have reliable, functional, and safe electrics and these laws are detailed in the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989. Moreover, the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985 details laws on ensuring that the electrical systems in a property are safe at the beginning of the tenancy and are well maintained throughout.

The Occupiers Liability Act is also a relevant piece of legislation in this case which puts a responsibility on commercial landlords to ensure that anyone entering the property is kept safe. This not only extends to the tenants but also anyone else that happens to enter.

For example, if you are leasing a building that will be used as a cafe, any patrons are also protected under this act. While a point of contention for many, it’s still worth noting that even trespassers will be protected under this legislation.

So, while a commercial EICR is not mandatory, it is one of the best ways to ensure that the electrical systems within the property you are leasing are safe and well-maintained.

How Often Should An EICR Be Completed?

For domestic landlords, it is a legal requirement that an EICR is completed at least once every five years.

Again, I’ll reiterate that there are no legal requirements for commercial landlords but the five-year rule is a good one to adhere to. This is a sufficient time frame to pick up on any faults or potential issues.

Of course, it can never do any harm to schedule more frequent EICRs, especially if new tenants will be moving into the building. This not only gives you great peace of mind but is also beneficial to the confidence of the new occupants of this building.

Even when you have tenants in your commercial building who also have legal responsibilities to ensure the safety of their clients, as the building owner, the onus falls on you to arrange an EICR.

Who Should Complete An EICR?

While there are no legal requirements in terms of actually having a commercial EICR nor how often it should be completed, there are laws surrounding who can complete the checks.

It is stated that only a qualified electrician may perform an EICR and they must use the standard EICR codes. These allow anyone reading the report to understand what has been recorded.

There are four EICR codes used which include:

  • C1 – this indicates an immediate danger and remedial work is required at the earliest date.
  • C2 – this indicates potential danger which is considered to pose a risk or will pose a risk in the not too distant future. In this case, remedial work should be arranged as soon as possible.
  • C3 – this code tells you that there is a problem which may not pose an immediate danger but could cause potential issues. Many compare it to the advisory notes given in a car MOT. You are not obliged to have any remedial work done but it is recommended.
  • F1 – where issues are identified but need a more detailed investigation, an F1 code will be used.

Who Is Responsible For Repairs?

As the property manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that any recommended remedial work is carried out.

The good news is that most electricians who are able to complete an EICR will also have the necessary skills and qualifications to carry out any work off the back of the report.

The Importance Of Complying With The Law

The law states that you, as a property manager, have the responsibility of ensuring that anyone occupying your leased buildings is safe. If you do not comply with the law then there could be serious financial implications such as a large fine.

Completing an EICR every five years ensures that the electrical equipment in your buildings complies with UK laws and this covers you in the event that anything does go wrong.

Once an EICR has taken place, you will need to obtain a copy of the report from your electrician. Although, this will normally be provided to you as a matter of course. It’s important to retain this copy until your next EICR takes place as this documentation can serve as an important piece of evidence in the event of any legal disputes after an incident.

Where an EICR has not been completed, property managers can be hit with fines of up to £30,000 in the event of an incident associated with poorly maintained electrical systems. Not to mention the damage that such an incident could do to your reputation.

EICRs Give Peace Of Mind To Property Managers And Tenants Alike

Knowing that you have a valid EICR in place gives you the peace of mind that no legal ramifications will come your way. Naturally, there is always a possibility that things will go wrong even when an EICR has been completed but as long as you’re up to date, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything you can to keep your tenants safe.

This peace of mind also extends to your tenants. Nobody wants to lease a business property that poses a health and safety risk as this could be legally, financially, and reputationally damaging to the tenants as well.

When a potential tenant can see that you’ve taken all of the necessary steps to ensure the safe running of the property, this will make them feel more secure. Of course, this also has a positive impact on your reputation as a property manager and will ensure a smooth flow of tenants over the years.

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