If you are a tenant and living in private rented accommodation, did you know that you are more likely to die in a house fire than in any other housing sector?
As you may well be aware, standards in privately rented accommodation can differ hugely. If you are fortunate and have a good landlord then your risk of an electric shock or injury in your home is not high, however, some rented properties in the local area fall well short of the electrical recommendations in rental properties.
How to find out if your property meets the rental recommendations
One quick and easy way is to ask to see the latest EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) for the property you live in. An EICR is a report compiled by a qualified and registered electrician which determines whether the electrical wiring and fittings in the property are satisfactory or unsatisfactory. An EICR is recommended once every 5 years or with every change of tenancy. Most reputable landlords are having an EICR carried out on their rental properties as they need to show how they are ensuring your electrical safety as tenants of the property.
What can I do if an EICR has not been done?
Currently, there is no law that requires landlords to have an EICR carried out in England and Wales. It has just been made law in Scotland that an EICR has to be carried out at least once every 5 years in rented accommodation, so hopefully, the rest of the UK will soon follow.
If there is no EICR in place, then you could be at risk of electric shock and injury. Bad electrics can also cause a serious house fire. An EICR is essentially a safety blanket that confirms everything is as it should be. Seven people every week are killed every week in the UK and thousands injured because of electricity. Many of these accidents could have been prevented.
As a professional electrician in Andover, I have seen rental homes in the past where the electrics have not been touched in nearly 40 years! In that time, the cable can deteriorate, and if the electrical system is tampered with, it could develop dangerous faults. If you have concerns about your electrics and there is no EICR available, you should raise your concerns to the landlord. They should take your concerns seriously and have them investigated. If the landlord refuses without good reason, you can take the matter to your Local Authority who can act on your behalf.
What about the risk of fire?
As a tenant in privately rented accommodation, you have good reason to be concerned about a house fire. One of the main causes of a house fire is from electricity. This can be as a result of dodgy electrics or misuse of an electrical appliance. It is highly recommended that you fit a fire alarm on every floor in your home. Many local fire services will often come and fit fire alarms in your home for free if you don’t have any already.
As of October 2015, landlords will need to provide a working smoke alarm on each floor of your property as well as a CO2 detector. It is worth asking your landlord about this provision if you are struggling to meet the cost of purchasing fire alarms should you need to.
As a tenant you will be responsible for ensuring the smoke alarm continues to work, so don’t forget to test all smoke alarms at least once a week!
Are you a landlord in need of advice?
As an electrician in East Andover, I work with several landlords in the local area ensuring their properties remain at rental standard. I am more than happy to advise on how your property can be improved so that you avoid any penalties or worse when the new Law comes into place.
Don’t leave it any longer, let’s raise the standards in private rented accommodation. Too many tenants are living in unsafe conditions, let’s get this changed.