Monday, 5 August 2013

Calls for electrical rental property checks every five years

Landlords should carry out checks on the safety of electrical installations in their rental properties every five years, according to a government working group.

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee made the calls for regular, mandatory checks in a report into the private rented sector (PRS) in England.

On top of the comprehensive inspections every five years, it also recommends that upon a change of tenancy there should be a visual check.

The move would help to boost fire safety for Britain’s huge population of renters, which only continues to grow as buying property becomes more unaffordable.

In order for these plans to be achieved, the government is hoping to join forces with the electrical industry to create a certification which would suit this purpose.

"We are delighted that the committee has made this recommendation," said Phil Buckle, director general of the Electrical Safety Council (ESC).

"We have, for some time now, been lobbying hard for such mandatory regulation in the PRS. The government’s own data shows that 21 per cent of England’s PRS contains category one hazards – the most dangerous risk to health and safety under the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System."

Under government legislation, landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure electrical safety. This means checking that the electrical system, which includes sockets and light fittings, is safe and that all appliances supplied, such as cookers, kettles and refrigerators, are not dangerous.

If these safety requirements are not met, they can be a serious fire risk.

The Cambridge Fire & Rescue Service has said that more than half of accidental house fires start in the kitchen often down to a faulty appliance, many of which may have been recalled without the owner realising.

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