Charity Campaigns For Safer Electrics In Rented Homes

12 July 2009

Electrical safety in privately rented homes

Following the tragic death of a mother of two, who was electrocuted while running a bath, the Electrical Safety Council is calling on tenants and landlords to undertake basic but essential checks to ensure their rented homes are electrically safe. Each year there are over 30 deaths and nearly 4,000 injuries from electricity in UK homes.

Mrs Thirza Whittall had moved into her rented house – which apparently had not had not been rewired or inspected electrically since 1981 – just six days before her death. A faulty electric-powered, oil-filled heater and a lack of earth bonding under the enamel bath combined to turn the metal bath taps into live electrical conductors, the inquest into her death heard.

The Electrical Safety Council, the charity committed to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents in the UK, recommends that the electrical installation in rented properties is tested at least every five years.

“This is a dreadful incident,” comments Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council. “Landlords have a legal obligation to make sure that the electrical installation in their rented properties is safe. An inspection of the electrical installation by a registered electrician, known as a ‘Periodic Inspection’, checks for any lack of earthing or bonding and can identify potential dangers. Tenants should ask to see a copy of the Period Inspection Report before moving into a rented property to check that the electric installation has been confirmed as safe for use.”

Notes for editors:

What tenants should look out for in rented accommodation

  • An electrical report confirming that the electrical installation is safe for use (known as a Periodic Inspection Report).
  • Certification confirming that any recent electrical work meets the UK national standard BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations).
  • That sockets, switches and light fittings are in good condition with no signs of damage.
  • That any appliances are provided with manufacturer’s instructions, have up to date PAT (Portable Appliance Test) stickers on them (not required if the appliance is new and has not been used before) and are in good working order.

For more information please contact