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Shocking negligence: why renters are at risk from faulty electrics

Shocking negligence: why renters are at risk from faulty electrics

Electrical Safety First

6 min read Partner content

Electrical Safety First Public Affairs Manager, Robert Jervis-Gibbons, explains why the law must be strengthened to protect tenants and other vulnerable groups from the dangers of faulty electrics in the home

The private rented sector has swelled in recent years as people struggle to get a foot on the housing ladder.

For some, renting offers greater flexibility and many tenants have positive experiences, but for others there are hidden dangers that can be harmful, and in some cases fatal.

One of the least visible or high profile of these is the risk posed by faulty electrics, which can cause shocks and fires and often go unchecked.  

This is why Electrical Safety First is raising awareness of the issue among the public and calling on the next government to hold landlords to account.

The charity is urging policy makers to make five year safety checks mandatory in rented properties; a measure which is already in place in Scotland.  
 
“Our main concern is that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland you could move into a flat or a house and it would never have had an electrical safety check,” says Electrical Safety First Public Affairs Manager, Robert Jervis-Gibbons.
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“The landlord would have to have a gas safety certificate which must be renewed each year. Our key ask is that people who move into the private rented sector at least know that there has been an electrical safety check in the last five years.

“Our proposals actually benefit landlords and tenants. Landlords can face significant financial risks from fires and invalidated insurance claims, if they fail to ensure electrical safety in their rented properties. A  five yearly check for people in the private rented sector when people are moving in and out, we think is quite reasonable. In fact, it is a small price to pay to protect people and property. And with more and  more people now living in the private rented sector, increasing numbers could be potentially putting themselves at risk.”

Someone who knows that risk all too well is Jane Andain, whose daughter Thirza Whittall was killed as a result of faulty electrics six years ago in her rented home.

Ms Whittall received a fatal electric shock one night whilst getting in the bath. This was later found to have arisen from deficient wiring throughout the property leading to an electric current making its way through to the bathtub.