Protecting Private Tenants in Scotland

20 February 2015

Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare and Bob Doris MSP, joined Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, to highlight the new requirement for landlords in Scotland to carry out regular electrical safety checks of their rented accommodation. The meeting also announced the advance launch of guidance for the regulation – which will come into effect on 1st December – to ensure landlords are aware of their new responsibilities and to encourage early compliance.

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland has more than doubled in size in the last decade. Yet in 2012, almost two thirds of PRS homes failed to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. And, as parents with children now make up over a quarter of all private tenants, concerns over disrepair and safety in the sector were increasing. Particularly since almost 70% of fires in Scottish homes during the year 2012 -2013 arose from an electrical fault.

To address this, Electrical Safety First worked with Bob Doris MSP, to ensure the recent Scottish Housing Act included a requirement for landlords to ensure five-yearly electrical checks, by a registered electrician, of the wiring and any electrical appliances supplied in privately rented homes. The requirement, which was also supported by the Minister for Housing and Welfare, will come into force in December of this year and Electrical Safety First has been funded by the Scottish Government to establish an awareness campaign to publicise it.

“We were delighted that electrical safety in the PRS has now been properly recognised and we are extremely grateful for the support this issue has received from both Bob Doris and the Minister”, explained Phil Buckle.

The Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, added: "I acknowledge the key role of Electrical Safety First in their campaign to raise awareness of electrical safety in the private rented sector.  From December this year, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 will require private landlords to carry out an electrical safety inspection at least once every five years.  This will strengthen housing standards and improve the safety of tenants in the private rented sector.  So I am pleased to announce today the publication of statutory guidance for landlords on this new duty."

The Minister’s statement was echoed by Bob Doris MSP, who added: “I was delighted when the Scottish Government included my amendment on electrical safety checks in the Housing Bill. And I pay tribute to the work done by Electrical Safety First and the Scottish Association of Landlords on this issue. I have no doubt that their tireless campaigning, of which this amendment is one result, will save lives.”

Guidance on the new regulation can be found on the Private Rented Housing Panel website, at http://www.prhpscotland.gov.uk

ENDS

Editor’s notes:

Electrical Safety First is a charity committed to safeguarding people and places from the dangers of electricity. For more information, visit: electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

For more information please contact:

Wayne Mackay e: wayne.mackay@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk t: 01582 539138

Angela Murphy e: angela.murphy@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk t: 020 3463 5127