The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) welcomed the introduction of the London Rental Standard (LRS) as a positive development but is concerned that it does not go far enough in improving electrical safety.
The LRS – one of Boris Johnson’s campaign commitments during the last Mayor of London elections – aims to raise standards in the city’s booming private rented sector (PRS). This voluntary accreditation scheme contains a series of minimal standards around twelve core commitments, ranging from fees and deposits, to landlord and letting agent training.
However, references to safety standards simply state that landlords must comply with current legal requirements, including having no category 1 or significant or multiple category 2 hazards. (Under the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System, a category 1 is the most serious hazard that can be found in a property).
Commenting on the introduction of the LRS, ESC director general Phil Buckle said:
“The development of the London Rental Standard and its aim to create a single accreditation badge for the capital is a step forward but it doesn’t go far enough to improve electrical safety. High safety standards should be a vital prerequisite for any landlord seeking accreditation. Given that research indicates PRS tenants are more likely to be at risk of electric shock than owner-occupiers, or those in social housing - and that over half of accidental domestic fires in Britain are caused by electricity - the lack of specificity in relation to electrical safety is regrettable.”
The ESC had called for the LRS to include a mandatory minimum standard, which included electrical safety, to ensure that properties are in a reasonable state of repair.
The ESC also lobbied for a requirement for fitting residual current devices (i.e. RCDs, the most effective method of protecting against electric shock and reducing the risk of fire) to be a pre-condition of accreditation.