Electrical Safety First and Shelter have released a joint report indicating that 16% of those living in private rented homes have experienced problems with electrical hazards in the last year alone.
The report, which examines the current electrical conditions in the private rented sector (PRS), highlights the lack of a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that electrics are safe before renting out a property or to regularly check the wiring and any electrical appliances they have provided.
“We are approaching safety conscious websites and blogs willing to help raise the profile of this issue and drum up support for the report’s recommendations,” Electrical Safety First and Shelter wrote in a statement.
The recommendations are:
- Mandatory five-yearly checks of electrical installations and electrical appliances supplied with private rented sector properties by a competent person.
- All properties that are rented privately to have residual current device (RCD) protection.
- An end to the practice of retaliatory eviction by landlords, giving renters the confidence to report poor electrical safety.
- More freedom and support for local authorities to take tough enforcement action against landlords that wilfully flout their responsibilities.
Electrical Safety First and Shelter are calling on the Government to change the law as dangerous electrics are putting the lives of England’s nine million private renters at risk.
Every year 70 people die from electrical accidents and 350,000 people are seriously injured, according to Electrical Safety First statistics. Research suggests that private renters are more likely to be affected.
Phil Buckle, director general of Electrical Safety First said mandatory five-yearly checks are the only way to ensure that all private rented sector properties are safe.
He said, “This change in law would be very easy to implement as the primary legislation already exists and our research shows that the majority of MPs would support a change in law.
“Electrical inspections by a competent person can cost as little as £100, which is less than £2 a month or 6p a day over a five year period. This is an incredibly small price to pay to keep people safe and we want to see the government take action.”
Another concern highlighted in the joint report is the significant imbalance of power in the private rented sector. There is currently no specific legislation in place to protect renters who report poor conditions to their landlord or local authority from being evicted in retaliation.
More than 200,000 renters were evicted or served notice in the last year because they complained about a problem in their home, and one in eight renters have not challenged their landlord because they fear this could happen to them, according to a Shelter and British Gas commissioned YouGov poll of 4,544 private renters in England.
The research was commissioned by Shelter and British Gas as part of their partnership to improve the conditions of privately rented homes.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter said with the shortage of affordable properties, more of us are facing the prospect of settling down and bringing up a family in a rented home.
“But England’s nine million private renters face the worst housing conditions in the country, and the chance of eviction if they complain. Generation rent is desperate for a better deal,” he said.
“No home should put your life at risk, and no-one should feel too scared of eviction to ask a landlord to make a repair. We need to see politicians tackle these problems once and for all.”
You can view the full report here: http://bit.ly/1q8Fb4u