Commenting on proposed amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill, which will establish electrical safety requirements in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, said:
“We welcome these proposed amendments, as we have lobbied long and hard to ensure regular electrical safety checks are a requirement in the PRS. Electricity causes around half of all domestic fires in Great Britain1, resulting in billions of pounds worth of damage each year2, while the personal cost can’t be evaluated. With the PRS continuing to expand at an unprecedented rate the need for such checks can only increase and the outlay for this essential safety precaution is a small price to pay for the protection of people and property.”
Poor electrical safety in the PRS can – and does – kill and injure. Last year, 16% of PRS tenants experienced electrical hazards and this figure increases to 20% for those with children3. One person each week in GB is killed in an electrical fire and more than a quarter of a million (350,000) each year, are injured as the result of an electric shock4, with research suggesting private tenants are more likely to be affected5. These are considerably higher figures than those fatalities and accidents caused by gas and carbon monoxide poisoning6, yet landlords have had to provide annual gas safety certificates for some years now and recent legislation has made CO2 alarms obligatory.