Greater risk of death warning as private tenancies rise
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Health
Electrical Safety Council launches new guide to help landlords keep tenants safe
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has warned that the risk of fatalities will grow as private tenancies continue to rise.
The Council believes many more people could become exposed to potentially lethal electrical accidents and fires in the home if the UK experiences a steep and long term rise in the number of people living in private rented accommodation.
A rise in the amount of private tenants was forecast in a recent report by Shelter and the Resolution Foundation.
Research from the ESC in February found that misunderstandings between landlords and tenants over responsibilities for safety were already exposing millions of tenants to life-threatening electrical dangers.
Subsequently it believes a significant increase in the number of private tenants may further compromise safety and is reissuing its guidance for tenants and landlords, including details of how to download its free smartphone safety app, allowing anyone to carry out a simple electrical safety check of their home.
On average, at least one person is killed a week in the UK by electricity, whilst around 1,000 are seriously injured every day.
Electricity causes around 20,000 fires a year - almost half of all accidental UK house fires.
The ESC has found that of all the people receiving an electric shock, private tenants are disproportionately affected -16% of the UK population live in private rented properties,but they account for 20% of UK adults who suffer shocks.
The ESC research highlighted that many landlords and tenants are simply confused over their responsibilities to safety and are not discussing the vital issue. By law, landlords must ensure electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. And tenants should feel obliged to flag electrical problems as soon as they appear, as well as maintain any electrical items they bring into the house.
Anneke Rousseau, Head of Communications, ESC, said: “It is important that all landlords understand their obligations and ensure the safety of their tenants. Part of the confusion may arise from the fact that landlords are legally responsible for an annual gas safety check but it is not a legal requirement for electrical safety. And so we are encouraging landlords and tenants to start talking more openly with each other about this vital safety issue.”