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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17199
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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The buyer of my house wants me to pay to replace my 20yr old

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Hi the buyer of my house wants me to pay to replace my 20yr old consumer unit (with 1 trip switch and which the surveyor says is quite modern)and relocate it higher. It currently is accessible under a bench seat in the kitchen. Is this necessary?
JA: Have you replaced this before? If so, how long ago?
Customer: no it was installed when we converted the property in 2020
JA: How long has this been going on? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I just want to know if it is a legal requirement to change the consumer unit and to relocate its position higher?
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: no thank you

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need sometime to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

do you mean it was already in place when you converted it?

and why what are the reasons for wanting it changed?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you. I converted what was an empty barn used solely to house animals and with no consumer unit into a dwelling in 2020. The unit was installed and was passed by building regs back then. I am now selling the property. The buyers have had a survey including electrics done and now ask that I pay to replace and reposition the unit. The electrics and unit are in good condition and not hazardous.

The choice is yours.

It depends whether the buyer is going to withdraw because you tell him/her to get lost.

It depends whether you want the argument for the sake of the few hundred pounds cost of the replacement or whether they want the argument.

What you don’t want to do of course is replace this and have the cost and then decide they are not going ahead so my suggestion would be that if you are willing to meet them partway with this, you reduce the price by a couple of hundred pounds to allow them to do it or you agree that you will do it between exchange and completion. You would need to get the electrician to schedule that in.

If it was compliant at the time it was installed then there is no requirement to do anything in retrospect.

You are quite at liberty to tell the buyer that you have no intention of doing anything, that’s the price, and they take it or leave it. Of course, they may leave it.

Reallocating consumer unit may be a relatively straightforward job or it can be quite complicated depending on the way the cables run and how much spare wire there is.

It was passed by building regulations whenever, that’s good enough. If the rules have now changed you don’t have to do anything else.

The choice here is yours and the choice of course is theirs.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

You don’t need to do it on this thread, just a new thread. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 4 days ago.
That's great thank have clarified my concern. Best, ***** *****

No problem at all. I am really glad to help. Come back to me at any time if anything else needs clarification. Kind regards


Incidentally, one of the rules which changed more recently was the originally only the power sockets needed a Residual Current Detection trip. However in their infinite wisdom, (no doubt supporting the supply of electrical equipment) the powers that be have decided that you now need RCD on both power and lighting.

However as I said earlier, there is no retrospective requirement.

Indeed, if you have an old system with no RCD and no circuit breakers, there is no statutory requirement to upgrade it.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
That's very interesting...thank you! And thank you for such a prompt reply...much appreciated!

Always glad to help. Kind regards.

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