Considering that every week in the UK, one person dies due to an accident related to electricity and more than 300,000 sustain serious injuries, we thought we would give tenants some facts and advice about how you can help your landlord keep you and the property you are renting safe.
Electrical accidents cause 50 per cent of house fires so it really is in your best interests to ensure that anything such as loose wires and broken sockets are reported to your landlord immediately.
There are specific and straightforward laws governing gas safety but the situation with regard to safety checks for electricity is less clear. Whilst there is a recommendation before parliament at present that there should be mandatory electrical safety checks in private rented property every five years, this has not become law yet.
In a recent study 40 per cent of private landlords admitted that they didn’t know what their electrical safety obligations were and further studies have revealed that those most likely to experience electrical safety problems are private tenants. More than 1.5 million private tenants reported that complaints made to their landlord with regard to electrical hazards were either ignored or dealt with slowly.
Social housing tenants fair better since electrical safety has improved significantly following the introduction of the decent homes standard housing with the update to include health and safety system for. Nevertheless, in 2010 when the scheme came to an end, 10 per cent of overall social housing stock didn’t meet the standard set.
Your landlord should know the following whether social or private:
The Law: it is your landlord’s responsibility to make sure that the electrical installation in your rented property is safe and continues to be maintained in a safe condition. Whilst various regions in the UK may interpret and enforce this law differently in the UK the meaning of the law is quite clear. HMOs (Houses in multiple occupation) in the private rental sector have stricter regulations. To get more information on the electrical safety standards required for private rental property you or your landlord can contact the Electrical Safety Council or your local authority.
Understanding the consequences of non compliance with Electrical Safety Rules
There are severe penalties for private landlords who do not comply with electrical safety regulations including fines of up to £20,000. In addition, if there is an accident or fire due to poorly maintained electrical safety the landlord’s insurance will be rendered invalid. Recent research conducted by the Housing Management Hub indicates that some 21 per cent (approximately 300,000) of private landlords do not know the penalties of non compliance.
TTV tips for ensuring electrical safety in your rented home
- Work with you landlord to ensure electrical safety.
- Whether you rent privately or are in social housing you should report any sign of electrical problems to your landlord immediately you notice them. This could be loose wiring, exposed wiring, a broken socket or the trip switch activating when you turn on an appliance.
- Ask your landlord whether your rented property has a residential current device. The likelihood is that it will have if your home is less than 6 years old since for all new electrical installations in houses this has been compulsory during the past six years.
- If you are using an extension lead do not overload the sockets.
For your own safety and that of your family or other people living in your rented home, it makes logical sense to make sure that your landlord is aware of any problems related to electrical safety and that they are dealt with quickly. Don’t worry about mentioning the problems because the potential damage to the property and the ensuing expense for your landlord could be overwhelming. Your landlord will want to know.
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Repairs and safety category.
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