Living away from home for the first time, students often aren’t aware how to make sure that their off-campus accommodation is as safe as possible. But with research showing that if you live in a privately rented house or flat, you are at a higher risk of electric shock, 1 the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is advising students to make sure their accommodation is safe.
Poorly maintained and misused electrical appliances are a major cause of fires and student houseshares can be at particular risk of having heavily used appliances that haven’t been tested properly. Government statistics show that half of all fires in the home are caused by electricity2 and every week someone in the UK dies through an electrical accident in their home.
Angela Murphy, media manager at the ESC explains: “Electricity needs to be taken seriously, particularly in student rented homes, where electrical appliances are subject to heavy demand and where there is a lot of confusion about what a landlord’s responsibilities are. The new academic year is fast approaching so it is important parents and students are provided with the information required to know what they should ask and look for when viewing property to rent.”
Here are some of the basics that students and parents should ask a landlord to provide, to help reassure them that the electrics are as safe as possible:
- an electrical report confirming that the electrical installation is safe for use (known as a Periodic Inspection Report)
- a certificate confirming that any recent electrical work meets the UK national standard
- sockets, switches and light fittings that are in good condition with no signs of damage
- that any appliances are provided with manufacturer’s instructions, have up to date PAT test stickers on them (if the product is not new) and are in good working order.
The ESC’s Living together safely leaflet has more information about safe electrics for those living in shared accommodation – view it at www.esc.org.uk