25th Jul 2013
Landlords exposing millions of tenants to dangers could face huge fines.
A new study by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) finds landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, from fines and invalidated insurance, through not acting on their electrical safety obligations. Ignoring their responsibilities means landlords are also putting millions of UK private tenants at risk of serious accident or fire.
The ESC study hoped to gauge landlord’s awareness of the fact fines for failing to maintain adequate electrical safety have risen from £5,000 to £20,000, but instead found a fifth - around 300,000 private landlords - still believed there were no fines at all. Added to this, many landlords did not know their insurance may be invalidated if they fail to follow their obligations.
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. However, tenants are most at risk – they are more likely to experience a serious electric shock than home owners and may be up to seven times more likely to experience a house fire . The ESC is concerned that unless landlords take action, the situation will further deteriorate.
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 admitted they had no idea who was responsible for electrical safety and as a result crucial aspects are ignored.
By law, landlords must ensure electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy . The ESC 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.
The ESC has produced a free guide for landlords on their electrical safety responsibilities, along with an online resource outlining recommended actions for landlords and tenants, to give clarity over responsibilities – both are available at www.esc.org.uk/landlords. A key recommendation is to download the ESC’s free ‘Home Electrical Safety Checks’ smartphone app, which allows anyone to do a quick visual check to ensure a property is electrically safe.
The above article is an extract from a news item by the Electrical Safety Council and can be read in full here