New regulations requiring landlords to fit smoke and CO alarms in their properties by law should also have included regular electrical inspections, believes NICEIC and ELECSA.
Under the new measures, launched by housing minister Brandon Lewis, landlords will be required, by law, to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. It is expected to be introduced in October this year and the government estimates these new requirements will result in up to 36 fewer deaths and 1,529 fewer injuries over a 10-year period.
However, Emma Clancy, CEO of Certsure, which operates the NICEIC and ELECSA brands, believes the regulations could have gone further.
"Any measures that could help reduce serious incidents in the home are, of course, welcomed," she said. "However, I believe the government could have gone further by including regular electrical inspections as part of the new rulings. The majority of fires in homes are caused by electricity. A regulation that would require electrical installations to be carried out at least every five years would help reduce this number and drive up standards within the private rented sector."
In February this year, the Scottish government introduced new legislation which will require landlords to carry out electrical safety inspections on privately rented properties at least every five years. It comes into operation from 1 December, 2015.
The current guidance for landlords and householders is to have an electrical inspection carried out every 10 years - although this is not mandatory.
"More than four million people now live in the private rented sector and this number looks set to grow,” added Ms Clancy. "While the majority of landlords are reputable and voluntarily carry out electrical inspections, there are a small minority who do not, needlessly putting lives at risk. A requirement for mandatory electrical inspections would have brought these landlords into line and potentially reduced the number of fires caused by electrical faults."