EICR Fixed Wire Testing For Student Accommodation: Everything You Need To Know

Wire Safety

Electrical safety in student accommodation and rented properties is very important for any landlord and there are few things you need to know in order to stay safe and lawful. The GenZ students of today tend to have lots of electrical appliances and this is just one reason why electrical faults could be more likely to happen in these types of properties.

Below, we will tell you a little bit about what fixed wire testing is, what it involves and why all landlords need to keep up-to-date with it. We have also mentioned a few quick tips of what to look out for in your student property, that could indicate that something isn’t electrically safe.

With these few things in mind, you can keep your property safe for students and tenants to use, while giving you peace of mind by being up-to-date with current safety standards.

What Is Fixed Wire Testing (EICR)?

Fixed wire testing ensures that houses and accommodation are safe for occupants to use. Testing electrical installations and appliances checks that there are no faults or problems with the electrics, casings and sockets and electricity cannot escape from it.

During the inspection, all sorts of electrical equipment will be tested, including plugs, plug sockets, light fittings, wires, fuse boxes and also things like extractor fans and showers which are permanently connected to the electrics.

The tests and inspection will check that none of the electrical installations is overloaded, which can cause the equipment to malfunction. They will also look to see if there are any defects, anything that could cause fire hazards or electric shocks, as well as inspecting the earthing and bonding, to make sure your property is safe to use.

What Isn’t Inspected During Fixed Wire Testing?

Only fixed electrical installations are checked during these tests, which include things like electric showers and extractor fans that are permanently connected to the mains. Because they are fixed, they are considered a part of the property and something that the landlord would provide to students and tenets.

However, there are many electrical appliances that aren’t included in fixed wire tests and that landlords aren’t responsible for. These are electrical appliances that can be removed from plug sockets and the mains and are considered separate, which includes items like fridges, TVs, cookers and microwaves. All of these detachable appliances are the responsibility of the tenant.

Why Is Fixed Wire Testing Especially Important in Student Accommodation?

Fixed wire testing is important because if it isn’t kept up-to-date or carried out by a professional, people’s safety could seriously be compromised. It is so easy for fault equipment, loose wires or broken casing to become hazards that could turn into fires or electrocute somebody.

In most student housing and accommodation, there tend to be far more electrical items than in your average family household. Each student will have their electrical appliances such as laptops, computers, PlayStations, hairdryers and straightening irons in their rooms. Although these detachable appliances are the responsibility of the occupant and not the landlord, all of these electrical appliances could increase an electrical risk happening. 

Landlords also have to adhere to a few different laws that outline standards for the electrical safety of a property. These laws also state that it is down to the landlord of any kind of rented or student accommodation to provide fixed wire testing, along with other safety inspections like PAT testing, to make sure that the property is fit for use. If these standards aren’t met, there could be serious consequences.

The Laws Around Electrical Safety in Rented Accommodation

Currently, in the UK, rented houses, flats and accommodation for students need to have their electrical installations tested every 5 years. There are various laws that outline the electrical safety requirements for landlords here in the UK, which are the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985, the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the Building Regulations for England and Wales.

The person who undertakes the inspection and testing must be a competent person, who is a fully qualified professional. A landlord needs to ensure that the property is electrically safe at the beginning of each tenancy and during each contract as well.

Once the accommodation has been inspected a report will be produced and your property will either meet or not meet the current safety standards that are set out for all properties. If the report says you meet the required safety standards, landlords will not have to undertake any work or renovations. If the report says your property doesn’t meet safety standards, you will have to by law make those changes in order to rent out the property.

Electrical Safety Issues Landlords Need to Look Out for in Student Accommodation

There are some obvious and not so obvious signs that the electrics of a house or flat might not be electrical. Watch out for these things below, which could give you an indication that something isn’t right:

  • damaged or cracked plug cases
  • if the electrical tape has been wrapped around the lead
  • wires coming out of the cable, where it joins the plug
  • burning, sizzling or heat marks anywhere, including burning smells
  • appliances that get too hot
  • loose outlets or sockets that aren’t fixed to the wall properly
  • flickering lights
  • if anyone has received an electrical shock
  • any safety labels that look fake, such as UL stickers

The Most Common Causes of Electrical Hazards In Student Accomodation

It is always worth keeping an eye out for faulty and damaged electrical equipment, but there are also certain things to look out for around your property that could be a potential hazard. Whether it’s wet conditions or wiring in the wrong place, spotting these hazards before they turn into problems can save you and your tenants a lot of hassle.

  • inadequate or poor wiring
  • extension cords, especially multiple ones used in unison
  • young children touching wiring
  • plugs sockets that are close to water sources
  • putting water on electrical fires
  • hot light bulbs near flammable materials
  • electric cords and outlets that are covered

Fixed Wire Testing: How Landlords Can Ensure Student Accommodation Stays Safe

One of the best ways to make sure that your rental property or student accommodation stays safe is to keep with fixed wire testing every 5 years. If you spot something that isn’t right or any of the above electrical safety issues, we recommend that you have a professional come out to look at your property. This way, you can make sure that your accommodation for students is safe for tenets to use and lawful too.

If you are a landlord and have any questions about electrical safety or about fixed wire testing specifically for student accommodation and housing, get in touch with us. You can also read about similar safety issues and topics on our blog, for more information.

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