Landlords failing to act on electrical safety hazards in student homes

As students are about to embark on the new academic year at universities around the country, new research has highlighted potential electrical safety hazards in some rental homes.

A survey commissioned by safety charity Electrical Safety First found that many landlords and letting agents renting homes to students ignored safety concerns reported to them, such as exposed wiring, repeatedly tripping fuse boxes, overheating appliances, and damp or flooding around electrics. Failure to act to resolve issues could leave tenants at risk from electrical fires, electric shock or even electrocution.

The charity is calling for mandatory electrical safety checks every five years in privately rented accommodation, and a visual inspection when the tenancy changes hands.

The National Union of Students (NUS) surveyed more than 1100 students and found that:

  • 37% of landlords and letting agents didn’t fix exposed wiring reported to them
  • 35% didn’t resolve issues of damp or water around the electrics
  • scorching around sockets and light fittings was ignored by 30% of landlords
  • 26% of tenants surveyed had reported constant tripping of the fuse box which was not dealt with
  • 23% of landlords did not resolve problems with broken, damaged or overheating appliances supplied with the property.

Andy Reynolds, electrical safety lead at the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) said: “Landlords and letting agents have a legal – and a moral – duty to keep electrical installations in proper working order, and to ensure that any electrical appliances supplied with a property are safe. Failure to do so could place their tenants at risk of injury or even death, and their property at risk from fire”.

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