Robust Action on Electrical Safety Needed in Private Rented Accommodation
The NAPIT Trade Association has welcomed the Department of Communities and Local Government review of conditions in the private rented sector but noted that robust safeguards and targeted efforts to boost awareness will be needed if the actions which result are to be effective.
The response follows DCLG’s recent publication of a discussion document that considers what more can be done to protect tenants in this area of the rental market and how best to tackle rogue landlords, without negatively impacting on the reputable ones.
Commenting on the review, NAPIT Trade Association Chairman, Frank Bertie, said:
“One of the main issues in the private rented sector is that many tenants are not aware of their rights. DCLG have already taken positive steps to address this with a draft tenant’s charter but it is vital that industry and Government work together to ensure this is easy to understand and is properly publicised.
The other is that those rights do not go far enough. If the outcomes of this review are to be effective, decisive steps must also be taken to improve electrical safety in the private rented sector. A 2013 survey by housing charity Shelter suggested that around 9 per cent of families in the private rented sector could be living in a home with electrical hazards. This is simply not something we should tolerate.
In line with calls from other key industry stakeholders and as a member of the Electrical Safety Roundtable, the NAPIT Trade Association is therefore urging DCLG to take this opportunity to make the long overdue step of introducing mandatory electrical safety checks every five years for private rented accommodation.
We suggest that these checks should take the form of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and visual checks should also be required every year, or upon a change of tenancy, and should be carried out by competent electrician experienced in carrying out EICR’s. This would bring current requirements closer to those safeguards which are already in place for gas safety checks and for electrical checks in Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s) which require regular inspection.
When a tenant moves in to a property, they are entitled to expect the electrics are safe and that’s why it’s so important that the opportunity to make this basic right a legal requirement must not be missed.”
The closing date for responses to the discussion document is 28 March 2014. To find out more and have your say, visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-property-conditions-in-the-private-rented-sector
24 March 2014