- Electricity kills at least one person every week in the home and almost 1,000 are seriously injured every day – private tenants are disproportionately affected by electric accidents
- The rise in non-professional landlords – confused over responsibilities – puts tenants at further risk.
- ESC produces tips for landlords and urges tenants to use its new home safety app
- ESC calls on landlords to ensure properties have adequate RCD protection
As the number of people becoming landlords soars, with 13% of UK adults considering leasing out a property in the near future, research from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has found that misunderstandings between landlords and tenants over responsibilities for safety are exposing millions of people to life-threatening electrical dangers.
Electricity kills at least one person every week in the home and almost 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: with 16% of the UK population living in private rented properties, they account for 20% of UK adults receiving an electric shock.
The ESC is concerned that the rise in inexperienced landlords – many of whom are finding it easier to rent out their property than sell it – will further compromise safety. More than one-fifth of all private tenants (21%) already report concerns with the electrical safety in their home and three-quarters of private tenants (75%) can’t recall discussing electrical safety with their landlord.
Confused over responsibilities
The ESC’s research also found that landlords and tenants are confused about their responsibilities whereby three in ten landlords and two-fifths of renters do not know who is responsible for electrical safety in their rented properties (29% and 40% respectively).
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. The consequences of not understanding obligations can be serious. If a landlord is found to be negligent over electrical safety it can lead to prosecution, with a fine of up to £5,000 on each count or imprisonment.
This may come as a shock to the 38% of landlords and over 65% of letting agents, who don’t believe there are any penalties for failing to maintain safety.