Surviving university isn’t always easy!
As well as adjusting to new living arrangements, you’ll be meeting lots of people while trying to manage your own finances. You’ll also need to ensure that you’re staying safe in your accommodation, as there are many hazards that you may not be aware of.
Each year around 70 deaths and 350,000 injuries in UK homes are caused by faulty electrics and electrical equipment. Almost half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity – and if you live in a privately rented property, statistics show that you are at a higher risk of electric shock.
Here’s some good advice on staying safe:
- Do make sure your landlord hasn’t overloaded any sockets or extension leads prior to your arrival. This could cause overheating and even a fire, so make sure you check how the appliances supplied with the property are set up when you first move in.
- Do ensure that your property is fitted with a working smoke alarm. Test the alarm upon arrival in your house and again at regular intervals throughout the year.
- Don’t carry out any electrical work in the property yourself, even if your landlord asks you to. Fixing electrical problems is the landlord’s responsibility and they should employ a registered electrician to undertake all electrical work.
- Do make sure your landlord or fellow housemates do not store anything on top of your microwave as they can cause it to overheat.
- Don’t cook when drunk – although it may seem like a great idea to cook a fry up when you get in from a night out, JUST DON’T! Your usual safety-conscious brain is likely to have been numbed by alcohol and your response rate will be a lot slower. This means you are more at risk of leaving ovens and hobs unattended, as well as suffering burns.
- Do check that all appliances supplied with the property are in proper working order and do not bear any signs of damage or age. Things to look out for include wear and tear too cables, non-standard plugs, loose parts or screws, and signs of overheating or burning.
Your landlord is legally obliged to ensure that electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout your tenancy and from 1st June 2020, private landlords in England will be required to have the electrical installation in their rental properties checked by a qualified electrician to ensure that they are safe. If you are a new tenant, this should be completed before you move in, and checks on existing tenancies must be carried out by 1st April 2021.
If any electrical work is carried out in the property, ask your landlord for certification confirming that it meets the UK national standard BS 7671.
- Your landlord is legally obliged to ensure that your electrical installation is kept in repair and in good, working order. Keep an eye out for constant tripping of fuses, flickering lights and scorching around sockets. If your property uses gas, your landlord is legally required to provide you with a gas safety certificate. Make sure you see a copy upon arrival.
What to ask your landlord for:
- An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). It is recommended that a periodic inspection and test of the electrical installation be carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years or on change of tenancy.
If you have reported an issue to your landlord and he/she has refused to put the situation right or ignored your request, you should contact your local authority who will be able to help you. Local authorities will ensure a landlord is meeting their legal obligations and can take enforcement action against them.
Download the Electrical Safety First free smartphone app to carry out simple visual checks in your rented home:
If you have bought any electrical products for use in your rented home – whether it’s a large item like a fridge or a TV or something smaller like a kettle or hairdryer – make sure that you register the appliance with the manufacturer. This means that if there is a problem and the item needs to be recalled, they will be able to contact you. As most electrical products that are recalled have a risk of fire or electric shock, registering will give you the peace of mind that you are keeping your family and their home safe. You should never try to carry out your own electrical repairs.
Safety Checked can provide a full Fire Alarm Installation, Servicing and Maintenance solution, including Emergency Lighting install and checks. We are experienced at carrying out servicing and checks of fire and electrical systems for social housing, student lettings and private landlords throughout County Durham and the North East.
As well as carrying out electrical repairs, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and installation, our Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) are a cost-effective way to ensure that you are meeting your legal and mandatory obligations for electrical safety.