NEARLY 7,000 electrical faults have been discovered in privately rented households – are you living at risk in your home?
Shocking images revealed the dangerous hazards that electricians have found while carrying out checks, since a new law was introduced.
The rule change means electrical safety checks have to be carried out in privately rented homes – and thank goodness they have been.
A total of 6,863 electrical faults were recorded across 98 local authorities, as revealed in an investigation by Electrical Safety First (ESF).
These were all classified as requiring immediate repairs to ensure renters could live in their home safely.
Faults included exposed live wiring, badly damaged plug sockets, and severe overheating of wiring that, if left unnoticed, could put tenants at risk from electric shock or fire.
One cooker switch was even removed to reveal a melted, deformed cable which could have started a fire in the property, if ignored.
Out of the areas investigated, Southampton, Kings Lynn & West Norfolk, Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead were the worst for electrical faults needing repair.
But ESF reckons there could be as many as 24,000 faults in total across the whole country, as they were only able to gather data on 27% of local authorities.
Under the new rules, if landlords fail to carry out these life-saving checks, they could be fined up to £30,000.
A qualified electrician has to check all wires and sockets before a new tenancy begins – and once every five years after this.
Yet the law doesn’t cover the 4million households in the social housing sector in England – the only country in Britain not to protect these tenants with the rule.
So ESF is calling for a change, arguing that “millions of social renters in England deserve equal protection” from electrical hazards.
One electrician was gobsmacked by the conditions of the electricity in some homes, which could have put renters in serious danger.
Images revealed cracked and damaged plug sockets, exposing the tenant to electric shock as well as exposed wiring from light fittings, all putting the property at risk from fire.
Neill Jenkins, the NICEIC electrician from Jenkins Electrical, said: “I find faults during most of the checks I conduct.
“Some properties I see have hidden dangers which pose a real risk and without the checks could result in a fire or even electric shocks.
“What I’m seeing in these premises is generally deteriorated wiring and accessories after years of stress on a property that has been left unchecked.
“The majority of these have probably not been checked for 20-plus years.”
Two years ago, ESF revealed that a staggering half of all accidental domestic fires in the UK are caused by electrical faults.
Now the charity is urging the law to be extended to cover social housing as a matter of desperation.
Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of ESF, said: “Our findings demonstrate how essential electrical safety checks are in identifying faults and preventing harm.
“In their first year alone, they have protected thousands of tenants from faults that could have caused serious injury and fire, and helped maintain the condition and safety of landlords properties.
“Such protections from electrical risk should also be afforded to those living in social housing.
“The millions of social renters in England deserve equal protection and it is time for five-yearly electrical safety checks to be extended to this housing sector.
“Politicians and landlords should do all they can to ensure everyone in social housing can sleep safe at night without fear of electrical danger.”
The investigation comes after The Sun Online reminded renters of little-known rules which could get them a refund.
If your landlord is breaking the law, you could be owed a refund of up to 12 months worth of housing payments.
Rules they must obey include making sure they have a licence for property with several people living there.
And following the correct rules when turfing out tenants from their homes, like giving them enough notice.
Renters could be owed a refund if the property owner doesn’t follow the rules – and it could be worth thousands of pounds in some cases.
Tenants who think their landlord has broken the rules can apply for what’s known as a rent repayment order, or RRO for short.
Renters have to prove to a tribunal that the landlord has broken the rules.
Source: The Sun