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Charity criticises incoming fire safety regulations

A charity claims there is a blind spot in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 coming into force next month. 

Electrical Safety First says the regulations, which require landlords to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties, are flawed because they fail to include information on electrical safety for tenants.

“While we applaud any safety improvements for the PRS, we have been extremely disappointed that electrical safety has not been included in these new regulations”, says Phil Buckle, director general of Electrical Safety First.

The charity says that electricity is responsible for almost half of all domestic fires in Great Britain, costing around £1 billion each year.  

It says that electricity-related incidents kill an average of one person a week, seriously injuring an average of 350,00 people a year.

“Given the huge expansion in the PRS, where a third of properties fail to meet basic standards, concerns around electrical safety can only increase. So we were deeply concerned when our call for regular electrical checks in privately rented accommodation was omitted from these new regulations,” adds Buckle. 

Electrical Safety First has previously called for mandatory, five yearly electrical checks of the electrical installation in all privately rented tenancies – along with any electrical appliances supplied with it. 

And it has also argued for the introduction of Residual Current Devices or RCDs – which help prevent a fatal electric shock – to be installed in all PRS homes. 

Previously, it successfully lobbied for mandatory electrical safety checks in PRS homes to be included in the recent Scottish Housing Bill and says it is now working to extend this protection to private tenants in Wales and England.

Last week it was confirmed that the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will come into force on the intended start date of October 1. 

This is despite being rejected in the House of Lords in early September. 

Landlords will be required to install smoke detectors on every floor of their property where someone is living or partially living, as well as having them tested at the start of every new tenancy. 

Carbon Monoxide alarms must also be fitted in any room where there is a solid fuel-burning appliance.

  • Kenny Sahota

    Some landlords seem uncertain of the new smoke and carbon monoxide regulation as it though, without adding more to the mix. Five yearly electrical checks should be implemented, but for this to be properly enforced and for everyone to take note, landlords will need time. The PRS is certainly going through some hefty changes at the moment, hopefully all for the better!

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