Commenting on proposed amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill, which will establish electrical safety requirements in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, said: “We welcome these proposed amendments, as we have lobbied long and hard to ensure regular electrical safety checks are a requirement in the PRS.
Electricity causes around half of all domestic fires in Great Britain, resulting in billions of pounds worth of damage each year, while the personal cost can’t be evaluated. With the PRS continuing to expand at an unprecedented rate the need for such checks can only increase and the outlay for this essential safety precaution is a small price to pay for the protection of people and property.”
Poor electrical safety in the PRS can – and does – kill and injure. Last year, 16% of PRS tenants experienced electrical hazards and this figure increases to 20% for those with children. One person each week in GB is killed in an electrical fire and more than a quarter of a million (350,000) each year, are injured as the result of an electric shock, with research suggesting private tenants are more likely to be affected. These are considerably higher figures than those fatalities and accidents caused by gas and carbon monoxide poisoning, yet landlords have had to provide annual gas safety certificates for some years now and recent legislation has made CO2 alarms obligatory.
Electrical Safety First have successfully fought to have regular electrical checks, by a competent person, of electrical installations in all PRS properties in Scotland and are hopeful that it this will soon be introduced in Wales through the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill. The introduction of similar requirements in England will be a welcome additional safety feature for tenants in the PRS.