Honourable and personal residential letting experts

23Sep Landlords:  Will your insurer pay out?

Landlords: Will your insurer pay out?

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When a landlord tried to claim following a fire that completely destroyed his property he spotted a clause that said his insurance was conditional upon him having a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

Fortunately he had a valid EICR; however the majority of landlords do not. Therefore, if you do not have a valid EICR then please check your insurance to see whether your policy includes this requirement.

Currently it is best practice to have a full EICR every 5 years, however it is not a legal requirement. Your insurance may stipulate you follow best practice regarding electrical safety, in which case, you need an EICR.

In any event it is likely that landlords will be required to have an EICR in the near future. A Private members Bill, the Renters Rights Bill, going through Parliament moves to impose full electrical safety checks on rented properties.

This is currently being interpreted as requiring an EICR every 5 years, moving the best practice (you can read more here) to a legal requirement, as with gas safety certificates. Given more people suffer injury or death from electrical problems (often resulting in fire) compared with Legionnaires infection, for which there are now established requirements, there is a logic to this move.

However it is important to note that the EICR is costly, with much of the cost being addressing the items which do not meet the current safety Regulations, even though they may have met the Regulations when they were fitted. Some items will be recommended for change, some will require upgrading, possibly urgently.

When you check your insurance it may not specifically ask for an EICR, however it may say you need to meet best practice on electrical safety, or it may exclude fires caused by sparks or short circuits. Clearly your best means of ensuring you have done everything you can to prevent such issues is to regularly test the circuits.

If you have any doubt then give us a call, we can confirm whether we have any record of an EICR for your property, and arrange a check if required. If you bought your property recently you almost certainly will have a copy supplied by the original vendor. If it was completed more than 5 years ago, we suggest a new EICR is completed.

In the case of the landlord whose property burnt down, he was very clear that the insurers appeared disappointed that he had an EICR, leaving him with the clear impression that they would have used this as grounds to not settle his claim.