Home Improvement: Tackling poor electrical safety in the private rented sector”

Home Improvement: Tackling poor electrical safety in the private rented sector

Electrical Safety First and Shelter launched their report “Home Improvement: Tackling poor electrical safety in the private rented sector” in the House of Lords recently. The document was welcomed by an excellent gathering of Parliamentarians, housing professionals and other influential stakeholders.

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 Speakers at the event, from left to right – Jane Andain, Bob Blackman MP, Lord Tope, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Phil Buckle, Campbell Robb and Bryan Halliday

The event was opened with an introduction by the Chair, Lord Tope, who set the scene before guests heard the tragic and moving story of Thirza Whittle, told by her mother, Jane Andain. Thirza suffered a fatal electric shock in her rented home, and Jane asked everyone present to help change the law so that other families won’t have to go through the same awful experience.

The parliamentary speakers followed, with Bob Blackman MP welcoming the recommendations from the report, but expressing dismay at the widespread ignorance of the issue, and Roberta Blackman-Woods MP outlining Labour’s plan for a national register of landlords to help tackle the issue of poor quality in the sector.

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, spoke about how only greater collaborative activity from interested parties can ensure that the Government takes action. He was followed by Campbell Robb, the Chief Executive of Shelter, who reinforced the report’s message that tenants must have the right to complain, without fear of losing their home. Bryan Halliday, director of sustainability at British Gas, finished off the speeches by calling for better education of landlords, who may be unaware of their obligations.

A question and answer session followed, during which the issues of retaliatory eviction and education of children were raised. A contribution to the discussion was also made outlining how new public health budgets might be used to improve housing conditions.

A digital copy of the report is available to view and to download at:

http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/mediafile/100174804/Home-Improvement-Tackling-poor-electrical-safety-in-the-PRS.pdf

We hope that you will lend this important issue your support and help to secure changes to the law to improve tenant safety. If you have any questions or comments, then please contact campaigns@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk, we would be very happy to hear from you.

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by Ben Budd

We haven’t had opportunity to research exactly what is proposed, but……
By all means make an annual electric certificate compulsory for landlords, alongside the existing gas cert.

But never assume all private tenants will be willing or able to stamp around fighting in court or challenging landlords demand or enforce anything in the way of legal rights or decent housing.

Older people are in the worst position of all. They find it hardest of all applicants for tenancies, and they are less able than anyone to face sleeping in shop doorways, after revenge eviction. They are less likely than breeders to be offered social housing, and less capable than anyone else to be able to survive the terrors of hostels. Unlike young people, they cannot expect to be accepted as sofa surfers or flat sharers or return to their own parents.

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