Is your home at risk from faulty wiring? Two-thirds of buyers fail to check electrics when purchasing a property
Two-thirds of the homes purchased in the last two years have not been checked for electrical safety, a charity has warned.
Electrical Safety First says homebuyers mistakenly believe a survey will check the electrics, leaving them at risk of high bills, electric shock or fire.
Buyers are instead being urged to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report.
Time to mend that broken switch?: There is no legal requirement to get an electrical report when buying a residential property but it could save you money and prevent damage
There are several obvious items to check when purchasing a property such as the quality of the boiler, roof, damp and the structure – many of which will be picked up by surveys.
But if you want to check the electrics then you would need a separate inspection by an electrician.
A survey of more than 2,000 homeowners who purchased their property in the past two years found of the 2.4million property sales in the past two years, only 37 per cent have used a an EICR.
The survey by Electrical Safety First claimed this means 67 per cent have failed to check their electrics.
The cost of remedying electrical issues after moving in averages approximately £2,000, according to the charity, with some costs rising as high as £10,000.
TOP PROPERTY PURCHASE CONSIDERATIONS
1. Neighbourhood 91%
2. Structural work needed 91%
3. Boiler age 90%
4. Risk of subsidence 90%
5. Damp 90%
6. The safety of the electrics 87%
7. Amount of work needed on the property 86%
8. Neighbours 86%
9. Service charge 83%
10. Proximity to good transport links 76%
The poll also found that electrical safety comes sixth in the top 10 considerations when purchasing a property, with the neighbourhood, structural work, boiler, subsidence and damp at the top.
Phil Buckle, director general of Electrical Safety First, said: ‘It’s easy to bypass checking the electrics when purchasing a property if you think it is included in the recommended home survey report – our research suggests this is the case for around 20 per cent of people.
‘However, not conducting an EICR significantly increases the risk of additional expense, and electric shock or fire, to the buyer and their family. We’re encouraging people to use a registered electrician to do a quick and relatively inexpensive check to ensure they know exactly what they’re getting into with the property purchase.’
What is an EICR?
An Electrical Installation Condition Report inspects the state of the switches, sockets, wiring and any other power sources in a property to check they comply with international safety standards.
Similar to a home or building survey, you can get this done before contracts are exchanged on a property purchase.
They need to be done by qualified electricians and will involve a visual inspection to identify any overloaded or broken power sources as well as electrical testing to make sure all the connections are safe and correct.
Costs will vary depending on who you use and where you live but expect to pay £160 to £230 plus VAT. There may be more to pay if anything needs to be fixed but this could help you negotiate the purchase price and save you money in the future.
There is no legal requirement to get an electrical report when buying a residential property but since December landlords in England and Scotland have been put under a legal requirement to ensure their rented properties are electrically safe by providing regular reports, or they may face fines.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY FIRST’S TOP TIPS ON HOW TO CHECK THE ELECTRICS IN YOUR NEW HOME
– Check the property has RCD protection in the fusebox
– Ensure that plugs and sockets are not damaged
– Check that visible cables and leads are in good condition
– Check that the light fittings are not visibly damaged and that downlighters are in good working condition
– Before exchanging contracts make sure you have had a registered electrician conduct an Electrical Installation Condition report done, this will ensure your new home is safe and you aren’t left holding the bill; a full rewire can run into thousands of pound.
Electrical Safety First has a free ‘Home electrical safety checks’ app to conduct a visual check of the electrics in the property, which walks you through what to look out for in each room.