Electrical safety check when buying a house: is it necessary?
Get the lowdown on any possible issues with your electrics.
Last updated on
Jun 1, 2022 10:52
An electrical safety check is a survey of the state of a property’s electrics, including its fuses, wiring, sockets, and switches. You don’t need to do an electrical check, but buyers often get one done before moving in. It can flag up any potentially costly problems before you sign the contracts.
An electrical safety check isn’t typically included in your standard home buyers survey, the general check most buyers do before buying a property.
But, just like a home survey, you would do an electrical inspection after your offer has been accepted and before you exchange contracts to finalise the deal. This gives you space to back out or renegotiate if the inspection reveals something serious.
If you’re buying to let, you’ll have to get an electrical installation condition report (EICR) done before any tenants move in. That doesn’t have to be when you buy the house, but it can be a convenient time to do it.
Here’s all you need to know about doing an electrical safety check when buying a house.
An electrical safety check involves a thorough inspection of the electrical system in a property. During the check, an electrician or trained engineer will make sure all of the electrics are safe and working properly.
At the end of the survey, they’ll give you an electrical installation condition report (EICR) summarising everything you need to know. This will tell you whether everything works as it should or if some maintenance is needed.
During the electrical inspection, the electrician will check some of the following:
Simply, an electrical safety check ensures your electric system is safe and in good condition. But it’s not just for your safety. If problems with your electrics occur in the future – such as dips in power or frequent tripping – they can cost a lot of money to fix.
Technically, you don’t need to do an electrical safety check when buying a home if you plan on living in it yourself. With your offer accepted, you may be tempted to save the hassle and just go ahead and move in.
But there are good reasons to think twice:
If you’re buying a new build, this should come with an electrical installation certificate (EIC). That should be done every time an electrician installs a new electrical system. If you have an EIC, you won’t need an EICR.
Landlords need to do an EICR before they accept tenants. This has been a legal requirement across the UK since June 2020 to make sure rental properties are safe for tenants.
You don’t need to do this when buying the house, though, it has to happen before renting it out. That said, it can be a good idea to get it done pre-purchase, when you may be doing other checks, too.
As a landlord, whenever you’re renting your property, you’ll need to:
Unless you’re buying a place to rent out, you don’t need to do an electrical safety check. But there are some reasons why it might be a good idea:
Ultimately, though, it’s up to you. If you do decide to get one done, here’s what you need to know:
If you want to do any electrical checks before buying a house, you’ll typically do it at the same time as your home survey. That’s after you’ve made an offer but before you’ve exchanged contracts. That means it’s one of the last things you’ll do in the whole home buying adventure.
Here’s how to get one done:
If you have a regular electrician, then great. If not, it can be a good idea to shop around before you commit.
If the electrics are all in good condition, then awesome. If some work is needed, the EICR will tell you. The size and cost of the job will help you to decide what to do next. You could decide to cover the cost yourself, renegotiate the price of the property, or walk away from the sale altogether. There’s no right decision here.
When buying a house, there can be a lot of little things to think about – and it can be tricky to keep on top of them all.
At Habito, we can help. We can take care of all of the legal stuff and your property survey too, so you can focus on at least trying to enjoy the journey. Get started with Habito Plus.
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