Millions of buy to let tenants live in homes with unsafe electrics that could expose them to injury or fire risks, claims a consumer watchdog.
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) reckons around 1.7 million tenants have reported concerns about electrical safety in their rented homes that landlords either ignored or acted too slowly to resolve.
Another 1.3 million are waiting for landlords to carry out electrical repairs.
The ESC argues that buy to let tenants are more likely to have an electrical accident or fire as a result.
Not only are tenants at risk, but landlords face fines of up to £20,000 for failing to comply with electrical safety laws, says the ESC.
But, according to a new ESC report, around of fifth of buy to let landlords were unaware of the fines and did not know their insurance would be voided if they did not keep up with their legal obligations to tenants living in their homes.
ESC research shows tenants are more likely to suffer electric shocks or house fires than any other householder.
Landlords must keep electrical installations and wiring safe throughout a tenancy by law.
Appliances and installations need checking at least every five years by a registered electrician.
ESC director general Phil Buckle said: “Many landlords are ignorant of their responsibilities. In the long term, we’d like to see tighter guidelines for landlords on electrical safety but with the number of non-professional landlords increasing every day, we also need to address this now. “
The Association of British Insurers, the trade body for landlord insurance firms, confirmed buy to let insurance would be invalid if a property investor did not properly maintain a rental home.
“While the specifics of each insurance policy will vary, all insurers will expect landlords to comply with any current laws or regulations in regard to electrical safety – failure to do so may result in voidance of their policy,” said a spokesman.
“Electrical work is expected to be carried out by a qualified professional. Following the ESC guidance will help ensure landlords can be confident their houses are safe and their insurance policy will cover them should they need to make a claim.”