The owner-occupied sector is the largest tenure in Scotland, with a greater proportion of older people than any other. It also has the lowest standards for electrical safety, with no requirement for regular electrical safety checks. Yet people aged 60+ are more likely to die in an electrical fire than any other demographic, especially if they live alone.
The risk of a fatality from fire is also increased for the 60+ age group if they live in older housing, without up-to-date electrics. The risk is heightened further if they have a health condition, such as dementia or Parkinson’s, which reduces mobility and memory.
Currently, Scotland’s owner-occupied sector needs to meet only the basic levels of electrical safety required by the Tolerable Standard. However, the Standard has no requirement to have regular electrical safety checks.
Legislation put in place by the Scottish Government has ensured that private and social housing landlords must now ensure regular five-yearly electrical checks of their properties. This leaves the owner-occupied sector – comprising 62% of all housing ─ with the lowest standard for electrical safety of all tenures, while housing the oldest, and most vulnerable, demographic.
In January, we will be seeking views on proposals to help address this disparity to protect MSPs constituents, regardless of tenure.
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