Certificate note

Electrical installation regulations were published in 1994. They provided, inter alia, that every user or lessor of an electrical installation was required to have a valid certificate of compliance for that installation.

That the certificate was transferable was irreconcilable with the requirement that if there was a change of ownership of the premises in which the installation existed, the new user had to obtain a new certificate of compliance.

There was no prohibition on transfer until a new certificate was obtained. The result was that there was no obligation on the seller of a property to procure a new compliance certificate prior to transfer. On the contrary, the regulations suggested that the onus was on the new owner/lessor to obtain a new certificate.

Most sale agreements dealt with this, not always satisfactorily, by including a provision to the effect that the seller had to provide the certificate.

New regulations were published on 6 March 2009. They provide that the user or lessor (who is not defined) may not allow a change of ownership if the relevant certificate of compliance is older than two years.

The Deeds Office will not police this obligation. It will ask for proof that a certificate exists.

Agreements of sale should still contain appropriate provisions regarding the certificate.

Originally published in the Eversheds publication Law News edited by Selwyn Cohen and reproduced in the Risk Alert Bulletin.

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