The ESC's reseaerch into the PRS has been greeted with interest by Welsh stakeholders.
Over the last decade the Welsh Private Rented Sector (PRS) has almost doubled and with the Housing Bill due to be announced later this Autumn, the Electrical Safety Council’s (ESC) research into the PRS has been greeted with interest by Welsh stakeholders.
The ESC report House Proud, which was undertaken in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit, looked at how councils in England might raise standards in the PRS. Key outcomes of the report were presented at the recent Shelter Cymru conference in Cardiff, to an audience including landlord and tenant associations, local authorities, housing charities and NGOs.
“While our research focused on England, much of it is relevant to the PRS sector in Wales”, explains Phil Buckle, Director General of the ESC. “Although the Welsh government, unlike Westminster, is set to establish a national registration and licensing scheme for landlords, local authorities in both countries will be increasingly reliant on the private sector to meet housing needs. There are a number of recommendations in the House Proud report which outline how councils can work more closely with the sector to provide a supply of good quality, affordable housing for those who need it.”
Recommendations made to local authorities in the report include: engaging with the best landlords to drive up standards; a focus on empowering tenants; effective use of external resources by councils to help improve PRS standards; and the need for councils to show strong local political leadership.
“The ESC is committed to raising standards in the PRS, without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens on landlords, and has called for such action across the UK”, adds Phil Buckle. “This is particularly important, given that research indicates PRS tenants are more at risk of electric shock than residents in other housing sectors and other evidence suggests that they are at greater risk of fire.”
1 Welsh Government, Dwelling stock estimate (2011)
2 Research conducted by Ipsos MORI: 25th June - 2nd July 2010
3 Data derived from CLG Fire Kills Campaign 2008
The ESC has called for the following to be incorporated in the forthcoming Housing Bill:
- Mandatory, five yearly checks, by a registered electrician, of both the electrical installation in a property and any electrical appliances supplied with it.
- Mandatory provision of RCD protection in all properties. (RCDs or Residual Current Devices are lifesavers – they help prevent severe and fatal electric shock, and some fires, and are usually fitted in the fusebox of a home).
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