Commenting on Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín’s statement on housing in the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday, Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of campaigning charity, Electrical Safety First, said:
“We warmly welcome the Minister’s plan to introduce legislation to improve the safety, security and quality of the Private Rented Sector (PRS). In 2019, almost 60% of fires in Northern Ireland’s homes were caused by electricity. And our research indicates that private tenants – in addition to older and vulnerable people – are at greater risk from electrical accidents than those in other housing tenures.
“We have, for some time now, been calling for mandatory, five-yearly electrical safety checks – of both the installation and any appliances supplied by a landlord - in Northern Ireland’s PRS. This safety essential has been in place in Scotland since 2015, was implemented in England this summer - and is due to be introduced in Wales. Regular electrical checks in the sector were also unanimously supported in the Department for Communities 2017 consultation on the PRS.
“It was also encouraging to hear the Minister state her intention to support those in greatest need. We have called for mandatory electrical checks to be extended to social housing – so that all renters, regardless of tenure, are protected from electrical hazards."