Private rental properties are now “far safer” than before thanks to recent legislation, according to the charity Electrical Safety First.
Since five-year mandatory checks were introduced in the private rental sector in England in 2020 some 7,000 issues have been uncovered.
Freedom of information requests, submitted by Electrical Safety First, found that a total of 6,863 electrical faults were recorded across 98 local authorities, giving an insight for the first time into the state of the electrics in England's private rental housing stock.
Of the 98 local authorities’ data analysed, the areas which identified the most faults and remedial work were Southampton, Kings Lynn & West Norfolk, Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Faults across the whole of England could have been as high as 24,000 based on the data provided by 98 local authorities, which represents 27 per cent of local authorities.
Electrical Safety First believes the findings demonstrate the unquestionable success of the newly implemented electrical safety checks and their ability to identify and remedy electrical dangers that would otherwise have gone undetected, leaving occupiers at risk of serious electrical shock and fire.
Under the law landlords are obligated to submit a failed condition report with secondary evidence of remedial work.
However, under the current laws in England these checks do not cover the social housing sector which accounts for around 4m households.
The charity believes a social housing safety vacuum has been created in England which remains the only nation within Great Britain not to implement five-yearly electrical safety checks for the social housing sector.
Such checks are already in place for both the private rented sector and social rented sector in Scotland, whilst Wales has confirmed checks will be legally necessary for both sectors this December.
Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First, says: “Our findings demonstrate how essential electrical safety checks are in identifying faults and preventing harm. In their first year alone, they have protected thousands of tenants from faults that could have caused serious injury and fire, and helped maintain the condition and safety of landlords properties.
“Such protections from electrical risk should also be afforded to those living in social housing. The millions of social renters in England deserve equal protection and it is time for five-yearly electrical safety checks to be extended to this housing sector.
“Politicians and landlords should do all they can to ensure everyone in social housing can sleep safe at night without fear of electrical danger.”
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