Probate property - dodgy electrics?

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by Ceebee, Jul 17, 2021.

  1. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Hi folks, would be grateful if anyone can offer any advice on the following issue.

    I’m currently helping a relative clear and tidy a probate property ready for selling, 1960’s and slightly neglected, about half the faceplates look to be the originals which concerned me slightly but on checking the CU was heartened to see a split 8 way Square D unit with an RCCB and MCBs and a sticker stating it had last been checked in 2009.

    However yesterday relative was wiping over a single socket and got a strong ‘tingle’ which I’m guessing was from the metal screw, went to the CU and nothing had tripped - should it have? I’ve spotted a couple of things that worry me, there’s only 4 circuits, 6A lights, 6A bell, an unmarked 32A which is sockets and a 32A cooker circuit. What worries me is only the cooker is protected by the RCCB and there’s a blanked off space on the RCCB side that is marked sockets? Sorry I didn’t do a photo :( makes me think the socket MCB Has been moved cos of ‘issues’?

    I flipped the main switch and removed the dodgy socket faceplate but couldn’t find anything obvious although it was only a single 2.5mm cable and there was no fly lead to the metal back box so decided to add one and replace the old faceplate with new to see what happened, it tripped the mcb. There was some slack in the cable so took up flooring to get a better idea of the cabling. What looks like a 4mm cable (new colours) is feeding older single 2.5s to each socket via loose round JBs, not ideal I know. I checked the only other socket in the room which interestingly had a flylead?? Was the flylead to this dodgy socket omitted on purpose?

    I disconnected the socket from the JB to make safe until next week and get electric back on but am I right in thinking it could be something as simple as a damaged cable and if I can pull a new length of 2.5 through from the JB and add the flylead it will solve the problem? Obviously I want to make sure the rest of the sockets in the house are safe too other than stick my head in the sand, is there an easy way other than touching screws with a wet finger :rolleyes: although to be honest I was intending changing the older faceplates anyway so it may become apparent and there doesn’t seem to be an over abundance of sockets.

    Thanks if you’ve stuck with me this far :)
  2. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

    You have to consider te overall state of the property - is it one which needs a full gut and re-furb? or is the rest in good order. If te former, then whay waste too much time, effort and money re-doing teh electrics when a new buyer could do it as part of the renovation.

    Just make people aware that there are issues (and ensure covered in the conveyancing) - and offer a suitable £500/1000 reduction in price to cover the electrical side, even though you will have pushed it up by the same amount already.
  3. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Thanks FlyByNight, on the whole the property is in good condition but there are a few things that could be done that would stop potential buyers running a mile that we’re prepared to take on. The property will be marketed as needing some modernisation but don’t want to condemn the electrics on the basis of possibly one dodgy socket? At this point my main concern is safety, should the MCB have tripped before I added the flylead?
  4. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

    Without seeing it - hard to tell, but you have to ask, was te fly lead removed to stop tripping? And that may mean a hidden issues. In the end it will be down to time, potential buyers and costs ... and every situation is different. It does sound as though the property could do with a full rewire - and if floor lift easily, then maybe time to do it using a local professional and you lifting boards &c. Done properly with plenty of sockets, new cabling, no hiddden junction boxes &c, and room for expansion in CU, could be a selling point for a new purchaser.
  5. ElecCEng

    ElecCEng Screwfix Select

    If there was an earth fault then the RCD should have tripped. It dies depend where in your setup it is installed.

    Round JBs are definitely a no no these days and can present lots of hazards.

    You really need to know the state of the wiring if it’s that old, i.e. an insulation resistance test.

    I would personally get an EICR done, then at least you know your starting point!
  6. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Thanks again, unfortunately time’s not on our side cos of equity release constraints, I am thinking the worst at this point regarding the sockets, why would someone deliberately omit the flylead and move the MCB if something as simple as pulling a new length of cable (the JB is directly underneath the floor 500mm!) through the conduit would have solved the issue.
  7. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Yes I think the best thing is the EICR although not sure whether to recommend this to potential buyers or do it ourselves for peace of mind while we’re working there. So you think the fact that the MCB was moved over to the non protected side is potentially due to an earth fault? If the rest of the sockets do in fact have flyleads would that imply it was just the one socket that was affected or is it more complicated than that?

    Thanks ElecCEng
  8. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

    Gut feel . and without seeing it.

    You could try something and easily make it worse. Just check for tightness and no chewed cables. EICR - maybe/maybe not you need to weigh it up. Changing sockets - may backfire "they have changed the sockets, but some electrical problems remain - what are they hiding" You need to be open and honest "it needs a rewire, but rather than do it, we have reduced price by £1000 so you can put sockets where you need and add in any new circuits"
    ElecCEng likes this.
  9. ElecCEng

    ElecCEng Screwfix Select

    Sorry misread this, thought you were taking on the property! It should be obvious to the buyer that it needs a rewire, especially if as you say, it’s a bit light on sockets.

    One thing you could do is remove the ‘tingly’ socket and join out the cables with Wagos, then put a blanking plate on. The onus is then on whoever puts it back to ensure the circuit is up to standard.
    FlyByNight likes this.
  10. adgjl

    adgjl Active Member

    It is not wise to be wiping socket or switch faceplates with a damp/ wet cloth with the supply on, regardless of their age.
  11. jonathanc

    jonathanc Guest

    As you say the property needs some modernisation. Leave the electrics well alone. Market the property as is. Make no warranty to the purchaser as to the condition of the electrics and leave it at that. I doubt as a modernisation property they’ll care that the electrics are not perfect they’ll plan on doing them anyway.

    A relative is dealing with the same issues today and my advice is keep the house tidy but else sell as is.
    ElecCEng likes this.
  12. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    I think this is the way we were thinking too, tell them it is what it is, there’s no mistaking that the electrics are aged in parts. The fact it’s a probate sale should speak volumes. Thanks for the help, much appreciated.
  13. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

    There is a section in the normal conveyancing documents covering electrics - just respond to that in an appropriate way. Not tested, as seen, buyers made aware &c That covers you from any issues later.
  14. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Probably all my waffle that lead to the misread, sorry. I’ll leave the cable disconnected under the floor and do the wago/faceplate suggestion, thanks for that, much appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
  15. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Not sure they’ll be doing it again in a hurry ;)
  16. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Good advice, I think that’s what we’re thinking too now, thanks for the help.
  17. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I would also agree with @jonathanc I was involved with the selling of mothers, and father-in-laws house, the latter next door but one, so much of what we had done to sell house was ripped out by new owner.
  18. Ceebee

    Ceebee Active Member

    Thanks MGW,

    In our case rather than spending too much time doing any jobs we know will be ripped out (the pink bathroom suite will live a little longer!) it's more a case of making it look like a property that could be lived in whilst doing it up bit by bit rather than a 'start ringing the static caravan companies' scenario.

    Thinking about it again I think I'll ring the electrician that did our rewire last year to see if he can nip in and see that its at least safe to use the sockets until it's sold, plus I can sleep safely knowing if the buyers are daft enough not to get an EICR that I won't feel responsible.
  19. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    Caveat Emptor still applies to house sales, as long as you accurately describe what you do know and hand over certificates you posses. The vendors solicitors will invariably demand a huge pile of certificates etc but you are under no obligation to supply any if you don’t have them. With probate houses, paperwork and history is often missing and both the buyer and their solicitor should make reasonable allowance . Your solicitors will explain.

    In the event of the buyers solicitor insisting on certificates that you may not have, your solicitor, with your agreement will buy an indemnity insurance if it’s acceptable to the vendor.

    A lot of conveyancing solicitors are very junior and straight out of college. I know one case where a house with a front dormer was considered by the purchasers solicitor as potentially illegal build, and required written assurances from the local council, despite assurances from the vendor that whole streets in the area had identical houses. A quick look via Google street view would have sorted it !

    In another case, a FENSA certificate for windows installed in the 80’s were demanded when they were not issued until April 2002.
  20. pppmacca43

    pppmacca43 Screwfix Select

    If u are marketing it as in need of modernisation, don’t bother doing anything like that. It’s a waste of time, anyone buying houses in need of modernisation will be expecting to have to do electrical/plumbing/decorating work. Obviously the price will be reflected in that, but not worth doing the electrics and then still marketing it as in need of modernisation as it will make little difference to the selling price u will achieve

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