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Electrical safety sought for Scottish tenants

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has joined forces with a number of other charities and organisations to promote better electrical safety in the Scottish private rented sector (PRS).

An open letter has been sent to Margaret Burgess MSP, the Minister for Housing and Welfare, ahead of the SNP autumn conference and the forthcoming new Housing Bill for Scotland. Led by the ESC, 13 organisations - including Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Association of Landlords, Citizens Advice Scotland, NUS Scotland and SELECT - have urged a series of improvements to electrical safety within the PRS.

The ESC has called for mandatory, five yearly checks, by a registered electrician, of both the electrical installation in a property and any electrical appliances supplied with it. It has also lobbied for RCD protection in all properties to help prevent severe and fatal electric shock, as well as some fires.

Government data shows that Scottish homes are at a disproportionate risk of electrical fires compared to the rest of Great Britain, with almost 70 per cent of domestic fires in Scotland caused by electricity. Independent research also indicates that PRS tenants are more endangered than those in other housing sectors. A GB-wide survey suggested that people renting privately are at greater risk of experiencing electric shock than homeowners2; and other evidence suggests they are at greater risk of fires.

ESC director general Phil Buckle said: “We believe the PRS can be improved without placing an unnecessary regulatory burden on landlords and that incorporating electrical safety should be a core part of any new requirements.”

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