Social housing tenants could be at risk from unchecked electrics in their homes

More than half of the accidental house fires in England each year are caused by electricity. Current guidelines recommend that rental properties owned by councils and housing associations should undergo an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) at least every five years. However, a recent survey found that this isn’t happening in all social housing properties, with only 14% of the rental housing sector respondents reporting that all of their residential properties have had an EICR dated within the last five years.

Electrical safety for a rented property is something that landlords are legally obligated to maintain and repair, if necessary. However, at the time of writing, having a valid EICR in place for every property rented out is not a legal requirement, merely a guideline.

With current gas regulations in England and Wales, landlords must arrange for a gas safety check annually, and tenants are provided with the certificate. With electrics, social housing landlords are required by law to ensure that the electrical installation is safe when the tenants move in and remains in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. There is no legal obligation for specific checks to be done at any set period of time, just industry guidelines (that are not legally binding) that electrical safety be expertly checked every five years.

Electrical problems in the home can be caused by a wide variety of things and sometimes there is no sign that anything is wrong. However, there are some things that tenants in social housing properties should look out for, which could indicate a bigger problem. These include:

  • The circuit breakers tripping repeatedly (occasional trips are considered normal)
  • A buzzing noise from switches or sockets
  • A burning smell
  • Your breakers or fuse box sparking
  • Lights flickering or dimming
  • Any exposed, fraying or damaged wiring

If you notice any of these issues in your home, you need to inform your landlord straight away so that they can arrange for the electrics to be checked by a professional.

If your landlord doesn’t seem to be taking your report seriously or does not attempt to repair the electrics, or any other type of disrepair in your home, within a reasonable timeframe, you may be able to make a claim.

A successful repair claim will mean that your social housing landlord has to make the necessary repairs and you may also be eligible for compensation. Contact CEL Solicitors today for a free claim assessment by calling us on 0808 273 0900.