Yet electrical safety for private renters in England is lagging behind the rest of the country. Commenting on the Government’s plan to delay implementing mandatory electrical safety checks in England’s private rented sector (PRS), Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of leading consumer charity, Electrical Safety First, said:
“The Grenfell House tragedy clearly showed more must be done to protect people living in rented accommodation. Yet the Government’s response to recent parliamentary questions in the House of Lords, shows that, in spite of the legal powers being in place – and a Working Group report backing the initiative - the Government is further delaying the introduction of regular, mandatory electrical safety checks in England’s PRS. Given that this essential safety precaution is now operating in Scotland and due to be implemented in Wales and Northern Ireland, we are deeply disappointed that private tenants in England aren’t being given the same protection.”
Research undertaken by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for Electrical Safety First, shows that by 2025, the expected growth in rented properties is likely to result in a 17% increase in the number of electrical fires in privately rented homes. Most of these fires are caused by electrical products (which are responsible for 48% of fires in the SE of England). Yet there is currently no legal requirement on England’s landlords to ensure that electrical installations are regularly checked and no evidence is required to demonstrate to tenants that the electrics are safe at any point during a tenancy
The Government has announced that it is waiting for the conclusion of the Hackitt Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety – which was established in response to the Grenfell House Fire – and undertaking further consultation before implementing any changes to the requirements for electrical safety in the sector. However, this report is not expected to be published until spring 2018. And earlier this year, the Working Group on Electrical Safety in the PRS (of which Electrical Safety First was a member), recommended that five-yearly electrical checks be introduced.
“Waiting for the outcome of the Hackitt Review and undertaking further consultation on something that has already been consulted on – and has the support of a range of stakeholders - is an unnecessary delay which could cost lives”, adds Phil Buckle.” “It’s time to take electrical safety seriously and bring England in line with the rest of the UK.”