electrical regs

Long story short...
I recently (well not quite it's been over two months) gave notice on a unit I have rented for the last 5 years from the council. They are doing a dilapidation report (not got this yet) but they have had an electrical inspection done with work needing doing as following...
A switch on a plug socket doesn't work. A switch for a ceiling fan that I fitted isn't to their liking for reasons not made clear. They aren't happy that I have added a couple of sockets off the ring main.
I can sort the above quite easily but also...
They complain that the 'tails' where the wires connect to the meter are too long. Apparently there should be RCD protection for external devices (of which there are currently none).
Given that the above two issues are as they were when I took the unit on I am surprised that I am expected to do anything about them or have there been new regs with respect to this within the last 5 years?
Also the quote I have had to sort the above by the company contracted by the council for all of the above is 400, are they taking the piss?
I knew in my heart of hearts that I would never see my deposit despite leaving the place spotless and repainted!
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It will say in your contract if you were liable for upgrades and maintenance on the unit. The details they have given for the supply tails and RCD Protection are their responsibility, as it's them renting you the unit, not the other way around. Any upgrade needed to make safe supply the property is their responsibility. Like a landlord has to make any property safe for a tenant before during and after any let period.
Any additional equipment you installed without their permission may be liable for removal by a professional tradesman at your cost, but everything that was in the supply and the lighting and power circuits is their responsibility if they were already in there when you rented the unit. They are your landlord.
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R D S coughed up some electrons that declared:

Are you required to maintain that? But it's a cheap fix anyway.

Ask them to state the regulation from the 16th.

Why?
That's the supplier's rules. Many suppliers state a limit of 3m, but it can vary between 2m to 4m. It's to do with the protection offered by their cutout fuse. I'm extending my "tails" by 14m, and to do so, I will need to provide my own protection.
To do this, I'll be taking the tails into a 100A BS88-2 switch fuse, then on via 25mm2 armoured cable to the CU. You can do this to achieve compliance (obviously use an 80A or 63A fuse if necessary to match your supplier's cutout fuse. The armoured cable isn't strictly necessary, but you'll either need some mechanical protection for your run to the CU, or keep the cables on the surface, or >50mm deep in the wall or ceiling.
As you will be installing a new circuit (a distribution circuit) you will need to comply with the 17th for this bit.

Regulations aren't retrospective so they can't expect you to bring the whole installation up to the 17th. However, IIRC the 16th required RCDs for sockets likely to be used to supply equipment outside. The RCD may be part of the socket.

New regs, but as I said, they're not retrospective, though new circuits this year from 1st July are expected to comply with the newer regs.

If your meter tails are a problem, the switch fuse will cost anywhere upto 70 quid alone.
Cheers
Tim
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You seem to be suggesting that the OP is responsible for all this (apart from the fan switch and the additional sockets he added where there are questions to be answered) Surely the rest is the Landlords responsibility unless a rental agreement states to the contrary?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com coughed up some electrons that declared:

I wasn't passing any opinion on who is responsible - just commenting on the technical aspect of his questions. The meter tails bit did make me wonder if the OP had actually installed a new CU - if not, then it really isn;t his problem.
It would seem reasonable for the OP to be responsible for anything he's done, but the rest depends on the contract - and I hate law, so I;m staying out of that one! ;->
Cheers
Tim
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Tim S wrote:

No, apart from the added sockets and the ceiling fan, all is as it was when I moved in. If it was OK in 2003 then I can't see why I should be paying to make changes to it now.
Anyway what are these 'tails'? From your reply I am reading they are the cabling between the meter and the CU, is that correct? (I had an idea that they were something different and more simple to sort!)
Cheers, Rick
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On Sat, 08 Nov 2008 09:28:16 +0000 someone who may be R D S

Yes.
"Meter tails" is the full name.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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On Fri, 07 Nov 2008 23:10:46 +0000 someone who may be R D S

More information needed. There should be RCDs for sockets into which devices used outdoors are likely to be used. However, that requirement has not changed over the period you rented the building. If it was not provided when you took over the building then you cannot be asked to add it now.
They are trying most of it on.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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David Hansen coughed up some electrons that declared:

To the OP:
I agree - unless the you have some very bizarre and onerous maintenance contract, none of this is your problem AFAICS. It's not your job to upgrade their building.
Perhaps a visit to Citizens Advice, and a threat of a small claims action to the council?
Cheers
Tim
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Tim S wrote:

Well I will remove the extra sockets and ceiling fan and fire it back to them demanding my deposit. That said I haven't got the dilapidation report yet. I am trying to remain polite as I want my 500 and have frankly busted my arse getting the place back how it was when I took it on. In retrospect I should have just walked away and forfeited the deposit especially given that I have spent about 250 on paint, skips etc.
Renting from council - never again (for a variety of reasons, not merely the above).
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That would have been a very silly thing to do. You cannot "just walk away" from such liability.
The council would pursue you for the cost of any outstanding work, and you can be sure that they would not use anyone cheap to do it. You would be liable for the cost of the work, the council's costs, and those of their lawyers, and your own.
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Bruce wrote:

It would be quite easy. We are a limited company and any assets could be sold to another company before wrapping up. Not condoning such behaviour as I think I have displayed by doing my level best to give them their unit back exactly how I got it. I have paid around 20K over 5 yrs in rent and every single time I have asked the council for anything they have fobbed me off (after failing to return many of my calls) including a variety of failed security related promises they made me when I took the unit on. There was even a point where after changing banks a rent payment was missed one month, July 2006, Aug/Sep/Oct payments were made but the account remained 1 month behind (I had not realised this error). Without any warning baillifs turned up in October and it cost me over 300 in charges. I know anyone reading this will think there is more to it but that is about the size of it, they are prize tossers. Now it looks as if I will struggle to get my deposit back, a parting shot maybe? Why they want to make enemies of people in this way is beyond me.
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wrote:

Councils work to the order of, getting as much as they can for as little as possible work involved. Your missed payment was most likely logged to get a letter telling you of the error, but in a council situation, that means it goes directly to the legal department for full investigation and repossesion of your property. Why waste the paperwith letters? It's simpler to just get the bailifs in, than to begin a letter writing war.
It's a council, where everyone has to have their say in what goes on. This includes making tenants, like yourself, feel like part of the family. It's usually the family member that is the youngest, and always gets the shit end of the stick from older siblings. But a family just the same.
It does depend on what you signed on your contract though. If the wording states that the tenant is responsible for the upgrading of the services supply equipment, the internal and external decoration, the upkeep of any and all structural fabrication and fittings and the installation of equipment used solely by the tenant. Yes, I have seen contracts with wording to that affect. Then you have the proverbial "No legged Stance" situation.
Spend a pound or two on getting a lawyer to translate your contract for you. Who knows, they may find a loophole in the wording that will make impossible for the council to get anything back from you. As did an old, dear departed friend of mine. He rented an allotment from the council and was told that the land was being sold for private development, and, of course, the tenants had to pack up and move on. He wasn't a stupid man and knew that there was something he had read on his lease that said something like "Development procedures had to be accepted by the tenants or an alternative equivalent lease had to be made before the tenants were kicked off the land".
Not he nor his fellow lease holders had any such notice and no alternative for a move to another plot. He asked a lawyer to explain the lease fully and the lawyer found two or three paragraphs that said exactly what they all thought. They should all have been involved in the discussion of any land plans. They were not. They should all have been given an alternative plot that they could accept, no matter the distance from the original land. They were not involved in that either. The only thing they got was a letter of notice to cancel their lease and move off the land.
Because the private developer had already signed agreement with the council, now found to be illegal under their allotment lease agreement, the council had to pay the developer in the region 2 - 3 million pounds for breach of contract. They all got to keep their plots for the same rent as they had always paid. It cost them 65 pounds in total to have a lawyer draft the letters of grievance to the council, and also got the court costs paid by the council. For 65 quid, it was worth it.
Who knows what you might find in your lease agreement. It's worth a visit to the lawyers shop to find out for sure.
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Commercial whole building/office rentals do sometimes require that the building decorations and services are moderised and kept up to date with current standards. I worked for a company (GEC) which rented a warehouse/office under such terms. When they moved out having done nothing to the building for about 15 years, they pretty much had to pay for the whole thing to be rebuilt, except the original steel girder framework. Didn't half make me laugh, considering how they refused to spend a penny on things like leaking roofs and aircon whilst we were in the building, and then had to pay for the whole lot to be replaced with brand new.
You need to check exactly what you signed up for originally.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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<snip>
Your lease is almost certain to be either a "full insuring and repairing" or an "internal insuring and repairing lease". Either way, you will find that, as the tenant, you are responsible for keeping everything in good order. If the electrical regulations have changed then you might be liable for updating the electrics, however this should be clear from the terms of your lease.
You should go back to the solicitor who did the work on the lease for you and ask for his/her opinion.
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Bruce wrote:

There is probably a lesson to be learned here! RTFL!
I did read the lease at the time and nothing in it concerned me but naively I won't have expected regs to change to the degree where I would need to pay for moving a CU nearer to the frigging meter.
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R D S wrote:

I don't think anyone has suggested that the regs *did* recently, reversing your modifications fair enough, but paying to bring things up to regs that were already in force when you moved in? stick it out with them.
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R D S wrote:

If you have insurance, have a fire.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
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