housefireNew research has suggested that landlords and letting agents may be putting their student tenants’ lives at risk, by failing to fix serious safety hazards.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has expressed concern at the findings of the research, commissioned by Electrical Safety First, which found that many landlords and letting agents ignored safety concerns reported to them, such as exposed wiring, repeatedly tripping fuse boxes, overheating appliances, and damp or flooding around electrics.

Failure to act to resolve these issues could leave tenants at risk from electrical fires, electric shock or even electrocution, according to CFOA. Electrical Safety First is calling for mandatory electrical safety checks every five years in privately rented accommodation, and a visual inspection when the tenancy changes hands.

Andy Reynolds, Electrical Safety Lead at the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) said: “Landlords and letting agents have a legal – and a moral – duty to keep electrical installations in proper working order, and to ensure that any electrical appliances supplied with a property are safe. Failure to do so could place their tenants at risk of injury or even death, and their property at risk from fire.

“With new legislation requiring landlords to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties due in the autumn, now is a perfect time for landlords to check their properties for fire and safety risks.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) surveyed over 1100 students on behalf of ESF in June 2015. Their research found that a worrying 37% of landlords and letting agents didn’t fix exposed wiring reported to them, 35% didn’t resolve issues of damp or water around the electrics, while scorching around sockets and light fittings was ignored by 30% of landlords.

Over a quarter (26%) of the tenants surveyed had reported constant tripping of the fuse box which was not dealt with, and 23% of landlords did not resolve problems with broken, damaged or overheating appliances supplied with the property.

Download the Electrical Safety First guide at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/for-landlords