The Lowdown on Electrical Periodic Inspections (and Why YOU Need Them)

Safety in the home is a MUST, and as a Landlord, you must ensure that your tenant(s) – or anyone entering or using your property, are not put at risk, by making sure that the electrical installation remains in a safe and serviceable condition. A Periodic Inspection checks the state of an existing electrical inspection against BS7671, the UK Standard for the safety of electrical installations.

 

So with this in mind, it’s important to look at how periodic inspections can guarantee the safety of your home electrics.

 

Electrical installations, like most things, have a lifespan. Usage and age are just two factors that can contribute to deterioration. Periodic inspections highlight these issues so that you can ensure your home is safe. By inspecting and testing your electrical inspections periodically, you’re ensuring they’re in full working order. They’re great for peace of mind. After an inspection, you’ll know what work needs to be carried out on your property to get the electrics back to tip-top condition.

 

What’s involved in a periodic inspection?

 

  • Discovering if there are any fire hazards or potential shock risks
  • Looking for lack of bonding or earthing
  • Inspecting to see if equipment/electrical circuits are overloaded
  • Finding out it if there’s any substandard electrical work
  • Tests on fixed/wiring electrical equipment are also carried out to ensure everything is safe.

 

How often do I need a periodic inspection?

 

  • If you own your home you need to make sure your electrics are inspected (and tested) every ten years
  • Caravans need to have an inspection every three years
  • If you rent your home, a periodic inspection needs to be carried out every five years
  • Swimming pools need to be checked out yearly

 

Also, before you buy, sell or rent your home, an inspection is required. So there’s no excuse! What cost would you put on the safety of your family?

 

What will I be given after my inspection?

 

You’ll get an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report.) This will report on all the potential dangers that have been found in your home. For example, it will cover deterioration, non-compliances and damage. You’ll know exactly what work needs to be carried out on your home to make sure it’s the haven you want it to be!

 

Who should complete your inspection?

 

It’s important that a periodic inspection is done by an ‘electrically competent person’. However, we’d suggest you employ a ‘registered’ electrician. Asking to see an electrician’s credentials is a good move, and here at Stocks, we’re always happy to show our Contractor’s qualifications!

 

What happens if my home doesn’t pass the periodic inspection?

 

If potential electrical dangers are found in your home, the inspection findings will be deemed unsatisfactory. You’ll be informed if this is the case, and you’ll need to get the work done ASAP to ensure your home.

 

is a safe place. It’s worth getting two or three quotes to consider from a NIC EIC Registered Electrician.

 

Call us on 01395 222365 if you’d like more information.

LANDLORDS – 3 Things You Need to Know about EPC’s

The Latest on EPC Ratings & The Changes Ahead – Here’s what you need to know :-

 

Since legislation came into force, there has always been a lot of discussion regarding the reasons behind the requirement for Energy Performance Certificates.

 

1. Serve Your Tenants with an EPC

 

The De-Regulation Act October 2015 enforces that we must formally serve a copy of the EPC to each and every tenant PRIOR to the beginning of a Tenancy. The consequence of non compliance results in any Notice for Possession being void throughout the term.

 

2. Tenant’s Rights

 

As from April 2016, a tenant is entitled to ask the Landlord to carry out the measures recommended on the certificate and the landlord has a legal obligation to do so.

 

3. Minimum Rating

 

By 2018, it will be illegal to offer a property to let (or for sale) unless we have raised the EPC rating to E or above wherever possible according to the Energy Assessor’s recommendations on the EPC.

 

If your rental property has a rating of F or G, you need to look at ways in which you can improve the specification to meet the required rating.

 

It is proposed that by 2020, the minimum rating of E will apply to existing tenancies. Of course, some exemptions will apply i.e. listed buildings & bedsits or in the event where the cost of works would devalue the property by at least 5%, would be classed as exempt.

 

In addition to the above, suggestions have been made to increase the minimum rating to a D in 2025 and then again to C by 2030.

Are you battling with condensation?

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s 12 Top Tips to help you combat condensation in the home :-

 

 

If you have a washing machine or tumble dryer in your property, ensure that it is vented correctly. From just one load of washing two litres of water is emitted into the air.

 

If possible, dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property. If you live in a flat this might not be possible so always open your doors or windows if you really need to dry clothes indoors rooms.

 

When boiling a kettle, taking a shower or cooking, ensure that your kitchen and bathroom doors are kept closed to prevent steam going into colder rooms which will cause condensation.

 

Cover your pans with a lid when cooking to reduce moisture. Also ensure that you have opened a window or you are using an extractor fan if you have one fitted. Don’t turn off the extractor fan or close the window as soon as you finish cooking – leave it open for 15-20 minutes afterwards to clear the air.

 

Similar to when cooking in the kitchen, when you are taking a shower or a bath ensure that you turn on an extractor fan or open a window to get rid of the steam that is created when running warm water in a cold environment. This will help reduce the amount of condensation that appears on your bathroom windows but won’t eliminate the problem.

 

Both pets and plants produce moisture. Make sure you cover fish tanks and if you are suffering from excess condensation look to move your plants outdoors.

 

If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then make sure that your tenants wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen when they have been cooking or taking a shower. Excess moisture will quickly turn to mould which is difficult to completely remove.

 

Do not overfill bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. Overfilled cupboards are a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside.

 

For the same reason as above, make sure that any furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around the property. Also try to put wardrobes against internal walls in bedrooms; this will be less cold than external walls.

 

Ensure an adequate amount of heating is available in your property to improve the internal temperature of surfaces and reduce the likelihood of condensation.

 

If you use a room on a regular basis, such as a living room, open a window slightly to improve the ventilation in the room. Breathing is a major cause of condensation so this will help to improve the ventilation in your property.

 

Double glazing, loft insulation and draft proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from a property. Installing insulation will also help to keep the temperature of the surfaces inside the property high.

What about Pets?

Landlord : I’m undecided whether to allow pets in the property, what do I do if they cause damage?

 

Agent : It depends what sort of pets you allow. You may want to consider asking for a larger deposit, agreeing on a de-flea treatment and steam clean throughout on vacation.  Regular visits to the property are recommended and it’s good to remember that as long as the necessary measures are taken, families with pets may well settle and be great long term tenants for you.  Some pets even come along with their own references!

Landlord’s – Preparing your Property for Rent

Letting out your property? Need some sound advice regarding your obligations as a Landlord? You can avoid common mistakes by making sure your offering is watertight and compliant with regulations.

There are many points to consider when preparing a property to rent, the most important area being Safety. Landlords and Agents are legally bound to comply fully with all current legislation and provide tenants with a safe and secure home.

 

Here’s what you need to know :- You MUST arrange for a Gas Safety Inspection before you hand over keys and provide your tenant with a copy of the Certificate, an annual Electrical Inspection is highly recommended along with a Legionella Risk Assessment. It’s also recommended that you arrange for an annual service of the boiler and any other appliances at your property and provide instruction manuals whenever possible. Penalties for non-compliance by Landlords are severe. An experienced Letting Agent can furnish you with full details on regulations and give you peace of mind in the world of Residential Lettings which potentially can be a legal minefield!

 

Every rental property must have a smoke detector on each floor and a carbon monoxide detector where there is a solid fuel appliance – each alarm has to be tested on the day that your tenant moves in to make certain they are in good working order and indeed between each Tenancy.

 

Its wise to remove all valuables or any sentimental items from the property prior to marketing and if you are providing a furnished property, ensure that the furnishings comply with fire regulations.

 

Take some time to look at the garden and think about what level of work needs to be carried out, prior to the start of the Tenancy, in order for it to be maintained by your tenants. It may be if your garden is sizeable, you may consider redesigning part of it so that is more practical for your tenants to look after. Any overgrown trees or hedges will certainly require attention, as will creepers or other fast growing shrubs. Clear the gutters and remove any rubbish from the property.

 

Pay good attention to the security of the property – check over locks to all doors, bolts, padlocks, window locks to make sure they’re all in good working order and make certain that you have enough keys cut. Walk around the boundary – are the fences/posts/gate secure?

 

Its important to look at the ventilation of the property to avoid any condensation/mould problems occurring – a cooker hood/extractor fan in the kitchen is effective and a fan with a run on timer works well in the bathroom. Did you know that four people living in a 3 bedroom property would create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing,cooking, showering and boiling the kettle?

 

If you’re thinking of redecoration, choose neutral colours & freshen up carpets with a professional clean. Provide curtain rails/tracks/poles or blinds for your tenants and some picture hooks, this will deter any unwanted drilled holes at the end of the tenancy.

 

To protect you from any disputes at the end of the Tenancy, give some thought to having an Inventory professionally prepared by a Professional Letting Agent or Inventory Clerk . An Inventory is a detailed schedule of contents and condition of fixtures, fittings and decorations, including walls, carpets and any equipment. The Inventory should be supported with photographs as well as an overview of the garden and outdoor vicinities. All defects must be carefully noted. Its an extremely important document and actually creates part of the Tenancy to which both parties are agreeing to.

 

The more “ground work” and preparation undertaken prior to your tenants moving in, the smoother the Tenancy will run. Remember – a well presented and maintained property will achieve a healthy rent as well as attracting long term tenants, helping to ensure that your investment is performing well for you and void periods minimised whenever possible.