Social housing lagging behind private sector on electrical safety checks

The social housing sector should follow the private rental sector’s lead by making electrical safety checks mandatory, the charity Electric Safety First found.

Since five-year mandatory checks were introduced in June 2020 for private landlords in England some 7,000 issues have been uncovered, like exposed live wiring and damaged plug sockets.

In April 2021 the regulation was extended from new to existing tenancies, hitting more landlords.

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However four million social housing properties in England are currently not covered by the law, and the charity reckons the same issues are occurring in that sector.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said: “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.”

“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.”

The government is currently consulting on extending the electrical safety check rules in its Social Housing Regulation Bill.

Checks are already in place in Scotland, while they will come into force in December in Wales.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: “Everyone has the right to a safe and secure home. We are currently consulting on the best ways to protect social residents from the dangers of poor electrical safety, including mandatory testing every five years, and our Social Housing Regulation Bill contains a clause that will enable us to legislate for this.”

Comments 1

  1. Having an electrical check done is a bit like putting your car in for an MOT. You think the car is fine but they always find something. I would estimate that averaged out it has cost me about £300 per property to get an electrical cert with costs ranging from £150-£450 per property. That the social housing sector is exempt is just another example of the PRS being singled out. As social homes are in general more poorly maintained than PRS homes as evidenced by a greater satisfaction amongst PRS tenants even though they pay more, it is likely that more than £300 will have to be spent on every property. With four million social homes the bill would be around 1.2 billion pounds. The PRS landlords had to afford it, so should councils and other social home providers. Or don’t they care about the safety of their tenants?

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