Electrical Safety First has welcomed the Communities, Equalities and Local Government Committee’s initial review of the new Welsh Housing Bill, which supports the Charity’s campaign to improve safety and poor conditions in the Welsh Private Rented Sector (PRS).
Government statistics show almost 70% of all fires in Welsh homes are caused by electricity. And independent, UK-wide research also suggests that private tenants are more likely to suffer an electric shock or fire than owner-occupiers.
Recognising this issue, the Committee’s recent report recommends that the Code of Practice for Landlords includes a requirement for mandatory periodic checks on electrical safety.
“We have campaigned long and hard for the introduction of compulsory, five yearly checks, by a registered electrician, of both the electrical installation in a property and any electrical appliances supplied with it”, explained Phil Buckle, director general of Electrical Safety First. “So we are extremely pleased the Committee agrees with the need for this fundamental safety requirement”.
Last January, Electrical Safety First sent an open letter to Carl Sargeant, the minister for housing and regeneration. Signed by business leaders, charities, public bodies and other significant Wales-based organisations – including Citizen’s Advice Cymru, the Chartered institute of Environmental Health, NUS Wales and Welsh Tenants – the letter urged a series of improvements to electrical safety within the PRS.
“There has been unprecedented growth in Wales’ PRS, which it’s suggested can only continue”, added Buckle. “In fact it’s been estimated that, by 2020, one in five homes will be provided by private landlords. We believe regular electrical safety checks could significantly reduce the risk of fires and injuries in the sector and that they can be undertaken without creating burdensome red tape.”
 Research conducted by Ipsos Mori 25th June – 2nd July 2010.
 CIH Cymru, Welsh Housing Review 2012