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The high profile fires caused by faulty fridge freezers last year highlight the need for landlords and tenants to be extra vigilant about checking the appliances and plug sockets of their properties.
In one case in St John’s Wood in London, where the managing agents had recently overseen a refurbishment including updating the fire safety measures in the building, a fire broke out in an individually rented flat as a result of a faulty fridge freezer, causing extensive damage.
In a further case, a tenant died when an electrical fault in her rental home caused the taps on the bath to become live. The electrical wiring in the property hadn’t been tested since 1981 and if checks had been carried out, the faults leading to the tragedy could have been rectified and her death prevented.
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) says that whilst landlords are legally obliged to provide an annual gas safety certificate, there is no equivalent legal obligation for electrical installations. The ESC recommends that agents and landlords should have a Periodic Inspection Reports (PIR) carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years, or on change of tenancy.
Michael Portman, Managing Director of LetRisks comments: “Not all electrical accidents are caused by faults – some are due to people’s behaviour. However, it is imperative that landlords and agents protect both themselves and their properties against fire risk and potential costly court cases.
“Agents are strongly recommended to ensure that landlords provide tenants with copies of operating and safety instructions for all electrical equipment in the premises, or at least make them available within the property.
“To reduce the risk of electrical accidents and fires there are some simple and obvious rules which agents and landlords can remind tenants of at the start of the tenancy and at periodic property inspections.”
LetRisks have put together some guidelines for landlords and agents:
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