Electrical safety can range from niggly problems such as the electric tripping just as you’re about to save your work, to serious electrical issues that could result in electrical injury or even death.
Choosing the safest university housing
It will soon become apparent if there is a problem with your student housing. The unfortunate reality is that once you have signed the tenancy agreement, it will become a lot more difficult to rectify the issue in the future. It is far easier to be aware of potential pitfalls before making the final decision on which housing to opt for.
What to look out for
Dangerous electrics at best can be a menace. In the worst instance it can kill. When viewing the property there are often tell tale signs that the electrics are not in the best of conditions. An over reliance of extension leads is a tell tale sign that there are not enough electric sockets in the rooms concerned. Too few sockets is a sign of dated electrics and there could well be other problems. Pay attention to how the current tenants are living and the condition of the other electric fittings such as switches and sockets. Signs of discolouration, metal backed sockets and broken fittings are all signs that the electrics need some attention.
An over reliance of extension leads can cause overheating and house fires. It is not worth risking your equipment and essentially your life on a property with outdated electrics which could be potentially dangerous.
How safe might the electrics be?
With electricity, everything is neatly hidden away. Therefore it is tricky to tell if there is a problem with the electrics when on the surface they look good. The only way of knowing is if a qualified and registered electrician carries out an electrical safety inspection on the property electrics. This is known as an EICR. If the property is satisfactory then a certificate is issued to confirm this. As the tenant, it is important you ask to view this certificate.
The recommendations are for landlords to carry out an EICR every 5 years or with every change of tenant. Although it is not the law to have an EICR carried out, landlords must still show how they ensure the electrical safety of their tenants. Most reputable landlords carry out an EICR on their property.
What about electrical appliances supplied at the property?
Whilst it can be quite handy to have a washing machine and fridge freezer ready to use in your property, it is important that the appliances are actually safe to use. Faulty or dangerous appliances can cause fire or electric shock. Landlords who supply electrical equipment should have the equipment PAT tested regularly to ensure that the equipment remains safe to use.
Electricity can and does kill – statistics from Electrical Safety First show that 27 people every week are killed or injured by electricity. Ensuring that your property will be electrically safe is the best thing you can do prior to moving into your student property.