The Private Tenancies Bill passed its final stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly last week. Electrical Safety First has long campaigned for regular electrical safety checks in Northern Ireland’s private rented sector (PRS), so we were delighted that they have been included in the Bill.
As the Minister herself has noted, electrical checks are a long-overdue safety fundamental. However, we look forward to working with the Department to ensure the regulations provide the highest safety protections for tenants.
To be properly effective, it is essential that safety checks of electrical installations are undertaken regularly, and we believe it should be every five years. This would provide private tenants in Northern Ireland with the same protection around electrical risk as those living in England and Scotland, and soon to be in Wales. Any appliances provided by the landlord should also be included, which is already the case for tenants in Scotland.
In 2019, 58% of fires in Northern Ireland’s homes were caused by electricity with products being the number one cause. This emphasises the need for the inclusion of appliance testing in the regulations. As we strive to achieve net zero, electricity will be increasingly relied on in our homes, so it is vital that there are strong protections in place.
Going forward, we’re looking forward to working with the Department as they begin the process of drawing up the regulations. In preparation, we will be engaging with both tenants and landlords in Northern Ireland, as well as housing organisations, to ensure everyone benefits from these vital protections.
For further information on our work on the Private Tenancies Bill, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on Electrical Safety First’s policies for Northern Ireland, click here, or visit:
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