Landlord Assist, the nationwide tenant eviction and rent collection firm, is urging landlords to carry out regular testing on electrical equipment in rented properties and to ensure smoke alarms are fitted.
The recent Fire Kills Campaign Annual Report (published September 2012) highlights that tenants renting properties without alarms are often the most vulnerable to the risk of fire, such as older people and single parent families.
Every year nearly 8,000 accidental fires in the UK (one-fifth of all reported fires) are caused by faulty electrics, according to statistics from the Electrical Safety Council¹.
The majority of electrical fires could be prevented by fitting a Residual-Current Device (RCD) but worryingly the same figures suggest that 52% of all private rented homes fail to have adequate RCD protection at the consumer unit.
For landlords it is important that they carry out regular checks on electrical equipment as rented properties tend to receive more wear and tear from tenants than owner-occupied properties.
Moreover the number of electrical appliances in rented accommodation has also risen over the last few years in the form and TVs, DVD players, stereos, cookers and games consoles as landlords try to target young professionals with modern furnishings.
Graham Kinnear, Managing Director at Landlord Assist says: “It is imperative that landlords take some basic steps in order to try and ensure the safety of their tenants.
“Generally speaking, electrical installations should be regularly inspected but tenants should also be advised to take basic steps which will ensure their safety. For example they should be advised not to overload sockets, never to attempt any repairs or alterations to the installation and ensure that the leads and flexes on their appliances are not damaged or frayed.
Stephen Parry, Commercial Director at Landlord Assist says: “Although there isn’t a legal obligation on landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical appliances, there is, however, an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations.
“Without carrying out regular tests a landlord could be found to have failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their tenants, and leave themselves liable to fines, imprisonment and invalidation of their property insurance.”
Graham Kinnear adds: “Landlords must understand their legal obligations when it comes to electrical safety in their rental properties. Failure to take check the condition of electrical appliances can put tenants in serious danger and result in prosecution.
Landlord Assist provides advice and services to landlords and letting agents throughout the UK and can be contacted on 08707 662288 or via their website www.landlordassist.co.uk.