One in five private tenants has reported electrical faults in their properties that are either ignored or not put right immediately.
New research out today from the Electrical Safety Council estimates that 1.7 million tenants have reported faults, and that 1.3 million are currently waiting for electrical faults to be resolved.
The research also says that landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks including fines and invalidated insurance. Landlord fines have increased from £5,000 to £20,000 but many landlords – an estimated 300,000 – don’t know fines exist at all.
The Electrical Safety Council is calling for action to protect the safety of tenants, saying that the situation is a real concern as electrical accidents cause more than 350,000 serious injuries each year and cause more than half of all accidental house fires.
It claims private tenants are most at risk and are up to seven times more likely to experience a house fire.
The Electrical Safety Council says the problem arises from a lack of understanding over who is responsible for the electrical safety of a private rented property. Almost half of all landlords and tenants say they have no idea, and a result crucial aspects are ignored.
However, by law, landlords must ensure electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
The organisation recommends landlords should have electrical appliances and installations checked at least every five years by a registered electrician, along with carrying out regular visual checks themselves.
Phil Buckle, director general of the Electrical Safety Council, said: “We’ve found that many landlords are ignorant of their responsibilities.
“In the long term, we’d like to see tighter guidelines for landlords on electrical safety, but with the number of non-professional landlords increasing every day, we also need to address this now.
“We need all landlords to understand that they are not only putting people’s lives at risk, but they could also face serious financial loss through fines or invalidated insurance if they don’t act on their existing obligations.”
Tenants can help themselves by maintaining electrical items they bring into the house and by reporting hazards immediately. Whilst no legislation exists for tenant responsibilities relating to electrical safety, if they are complacent to the issues then it could result in a serious accident.
A free guide for landlords on their electrical safety responsibilities is here:
Article courtesy of Landlord Today