How to sell a house with a missing Electrical Installation Certificate
Are you thinking about putting your house on the market? If you are, you’ll probably be thinking more about the kerb appeal of the property rather than any misfiled paperwork. However, a missing Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) can cause delays when you find a buyer. This is because the conveyancing process can be held up.
In this article, we look at your options if you’ve had electrical work done on your home and don’t have the Electrical Installation Certificate.
The legal position
Part P of Building Regulations in England and Wales requires that all residential electrical work is completed to a safe standard. This includes ensuring that the condition of any work allows for safe maintenance or alteration in the future.
To ensure all electrical work meets this standard, local authorities usually require that works are certified with an EIC. Although you won’t need certification for basic tasks like fixing a tripped fuse, you will need an EIC if any of the following apply:
- A new circuit is installed, such as wiring for a new extension
- Changes are made to an existing circuit, for example, if your kitchen is rewired
- Electrical work is carried out in certain parts of your home where additional regulations apply, such as a bathroom
An EIC should be filed with the local authority within 30 days of the work being completed. This means that if you do not have a copy of an EIC you may be able to view or order a copy online.
Uncertified electrical works are likely to be in breach of local authority regulations. The local council may require you to have the work redone. They could also force you to remove or alter the works. In addition, you could also face a fine.
A missing EIC is a concern for potential buyers because any new owner of the property would inherit these obligations. Worryingly, no EIC means there is also no guarantee that the work itself is safe. It can be difficult to sell a property without the proper Electrical Installation Certificate documentation.
Option One – Redo the EIC
If you’re unable to track down the certificate, or you think the electrician who carried out the work never supplied one, you should contact the electrician. The electrician may be able to complete an EIC for the work. Alternatively, the electrician may be able to redo the work and submit a new EIC for it.
Option Two – Get an Electrical Installation Condition Report
If you cannot reach your original electrician, or they’re unable to redo the work or issue an EIC, you can get a certified electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) instead. An EICR is not a substitute for the original EIC, but the EICR should reassure potential buyers. Local authorities may also accept the report in place of an EIC as evidence that the work is compliant.
Option Three – An indemnity policy
If you’ve already found a buyer and the conveyancing process is well underway, an indemnity policy is a commonly-used and often a faster option. An indemnity policy is like an insurance policy. It protects the buyer from any costs that may arise due to the missing EIC. A policy will not check or warranty the safety or condition of the electrics. Your conveyancing solicitor will be able to advise further on this.
Moving home faster
If you’re missing an Electrical Installation Certificate, you technically can still sell your home. Nevertheless, there will likely be delays in the conveyancing process. The buyer could be advised by their solicitor not to continue with the purchase until the issue is resolved.
To avoid any such delays, you could be proactive. Arrange for a Part P certified electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report as soon as you can.
Chris Salmon, Director of Quittance Legal Services, has said:
“We strongly recommend that you get a condition report from an NICEIC registered electrical contractor before you put your property on the market. An indemnity policy will be sufficient in a legal sense. However, only an EICR can warrant that the electrical work is safe.”
If getting an EICR isn’t feasible, you should tell your conveyancing solicitor when you first instruct them that you’re missing an EIC, but that you’re willing to pay for an indemnity policy. This enables your solicitor to present the problem (no EIC) and the solution (an indemnity policy paid for by you, the seller) to the buyer at the same time. This will reduce back-and-forth delays, and reassure the buyer that you’re being upfront and practically-minded.
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