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Tougher electrical safety standards needed to protect private tenants

Tougher electrical safety standards for rented properties north of the border are needed to protect private tenants, according to a leading campaigning body for electrotechnical trade in Scotland

Recent data revealed that tenants in the private housing sector were at a higher risk of electrical shocks and fires caused by electrical faults than those in social housing.

Darrell Matthews, managing director of SELECT, whose member companies account for over 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland, wants the government to introduce more stringent safety enforcement laws to bring all rented housing in Scotland up to the required standards.


He said: “Private landlord registration has been mandatory since 2004 and a robust application process is critical to keep the people of Scotland safe in privately rented accommodation.

“Our members operate to the highest standards of electrical installation and testing and firmly believe that the government should hold private landlords to the same exacting standards.”

Responding to a consultation paper on ‘landlord registration’, which recently took place by the Scottish government’s landlord registration team, Matthews said that he would like to see landlords required to submit written evidence that they have had electrical inspection and testing undertaken and that fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted and operational.

He added: “The current ‘prescribed information’ makes no requirement on the landlord to declare the safety of the property being rented, so any change to this is a welcome improvement.

“We believe that this is an excellent opportunity for the Scottish government to put the safety of renters foremost, and ensure that properties being rented by private landlords have electrical installations of the highest standard.”

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  • SCN Lettings

    A Vested Interest Production......
    Of course a firm of electrical testers are going to advocate electrical testing. I can't see a problem if EICRs are done every 5 years. Ours are. £150 every 5 years. £30 a year.

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    no legal requirement

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    I am a landlord, I'm also an electrician. My properties all have had EICRs (done by me) in the last 5 years and they have all had remedial work done, including new fuse boards and, in one case, a partial rewire. Being an electrician I'm in a position to fix the electrics as soon as I get the keys.

    I carry out EICRs every week. I probably do between 50 - 80 per year, they are, to a degree, my bread and butter. In all the time I have been doing them I have only ever come across one property that I didn't find faults in; this was a one bed flat in Islington with 3 circuits.

    EICRs aren't expensive, and if you have one done and have the necessary remedial work flagged up carried out, then you have your back covered for 5 years or for however long the EICR is for.

    Unfortunately there are landlords that would rather not spend the money and are happy for their tenants to live in a potentially dangerous property. They give the rest of us a bad name.

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    I believe you cannot give EICR to your own properties. You have to have it from another qualified electrician and £150 or more for each EICR

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    There are no rules about which electricians can carry out inspections or electrical work on properties, as long as they are qualified to do so. There isn't a legal requirement for EICRs of rental properties (yet) anyway. Individual wards of boroughs may have EICR requirements for housing benefit tenants and some letting agents insist on them but this isn't statutory.

    EICRs cost what the electrician charges, there isn't a £150 set price. Unlike gas safety checks, an EICR is quite involved; every circuit in the property has to be checked, along with the earthing, fuse board, switches and sockets etc. The larger the property the longer the time needed and, consequently, the greater the cost.


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