Agents and Landlords Warned of Fire Risk From Electrical installations

Agents and Landlords Warned of Fire Risk From Electrical installations

12:09 PM, 6th September 2012, About 12 years ago 1

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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.”

Agents and Landlords Warned of Fire Risk From Electrical installations

LetRisks have put together some guidelines for landlords and agents:

  • Warn tenants not to overload sockets and put adaptors into adaptors
  • Don’t attempt any repairs to the electrical wiring or appliances yourself – use a qualified electrician
  • Check that sockets, switches and light fittings are in good condition with no signs of damage such as cracking or burn marks
  • Check that leads and flexible cables on appliances aren’t damaged or frayed.
  • Any electrical appliances provided by the agent or landlord should have up to date Portable Appliance Test (PAT) stickers on them (although not a legal requirement it is recommended by the ESC)
  • Check to see if the fusebox has RCD protection. This is a life-saving device that protects against electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires
  • Replace old electrics eg fuseboxes with a wooden back; cables coated with black rubber, lead or fabric; old, round pin sockets, light switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards; and light switches mounted on bathroom walls

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Antony Richards

2:29 AM, 8th September 2012, About 12 years ago

The sooner PEIs become a legal requirement the better

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