With today’s publication of the Government’s report into Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector, consumer group Electrical Safety First has hit out at the lack of Government action.
Electrical Safety First is disappointed that the government has published this report without any commitment to introducing mandatory five-yearly checks on electrical installations in privately rented homes. This is something ESF has long been campaigning for, as we believe these checks are essential to ensure that tenants are safe from electrical fires and accidents.
Electrical Safety First were informed that the publication of today’s report will now ‘enable wider engagement to take place with the sector to test the recommendations, particularly in light of lessons learned at Grenfell.’ The charity is asking what further engagement is needed for a change in policy to be introduced.
New research carried out for the charity by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has shown that due to the projected increase in the number of rented properties over the next 8 years, there is likely to be a 17% increase in the number of electrical fires in rented properties by 2025. With the main cause of electrical fires in the South East of England being a fault in electrical equipment or appliances, (responsible for 48% of fires in the region), more needs to be done.
There is currently no legal requirement on landlords in England to ensure that electrical installations are regularly checked and no evidence is required to demonstrate to tenants that the electrics are safe at any point during a tenancy.
Phil Buckle, Chief Executive at Electrical Safety First said:
“We are extremely disappointed that the Government is not recommending policy change, following the publication of today’s report. The tragic fire at Grenfell House made it clear that more has to be done in order to protect people who are living in rented accommodation. Electrical Safety First has long been campaigning for the introduction of mandatory five-yearly checks on electrical installations in privately rented homes. Currently, there is an ‘’expectation’ on landlords to keep electrical installations safe, but no legal obligation. This means that the electrics and appliances contained within rented properties could go unchecked for many years presenting a serious risk of fire”.
“This position has been a shared amongst the stakeholder community, and is in line with what has been introduced in Scotland and is now being pursued in Wales. Without regular mandatory checks, Electrical Safety First believes that the number of fires caused by electricity in the private rented sector will only get worse.”
Electrical Safety First believes that immediate action must be taken to introduce mandatory five-yearly electrical checks on privately rented properties. The lack of regulation in the private rented sector, faulty installations and appliances and the misuse of electricity by consumers is leading to people being killed and injured each year in the UK through fires of electrical origin.
For more information, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/forlandlords