George Paterson, Director of Property Services, explains why we will consider taking legal action against residents who refuse to let us in to do the electrical safety test.
It’s a really hard time for everyone at the moment and life is very different to normal. But some things must go on as normal and one of the most important of these is our priority to keep residents safe.
We have a legal responsibility to keep our residents safe in their homes. As well as the gas safety check which we must do every year, we also have to check the electrics in all our homes every 5 years.
Most residents don’t have a problem with this and let our qualified electricians in to do the electrical safety test. I’m very pleased about that. It’s a really important safety test. Electrical faults are one of the main causes of fires in the home. There have been 2 fires in our homes since June that the fire service think were caused by electrical faults.
Unfortunately, not everyone is cooperating with us on this. An increasing number of residents are refusing to let us in to do this vital test. I understand it might be inconvenient as we need to switch off the electricity for a short time. More people are working from home and I appreciate the kids might be playing indoors more as well. Understandably, some people might be concerned about having our technicians coming into their home at this time.
Rest assured, we’re taking extra precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Before appointments, we’re phoning to check that no one in the household has any symptoms. We can rearrange an appointment if necessary. On arrival, our electrician will ask the resident again if anyone in the household has symptoms before entering their home. This is to ensure it’s safe for our member of staff to carry out the appointment. For the safety of residents, all staff members entering a resident’s home must wear a face covering.
But some residents are still not letting us in, even after many letters, phone calls and visits. That’s why from the end of August we will consider taking legal action against residents who have repeatedly refused to let us in to do the electrical safety test. I really don’t want to do this. I’m hoping we can talk to residents with concerns and explain why the safety test is so important and how we can work safely in the current situation.
Legal action will be our very last step. We’ll do everything we can to avoid taking this action as the cost of going to Court is expensive and residents may have to pay legal costs of around £1000. We don’t want residents to be punished in this way, especially at this time, but the electrical test is so important for residents’ safety that it will be our only option after we have tried everything else.
I want residents to understand that we’re not interested in anything else in these appointments. They’re not about any rent you might owe or any other matters to do with your tenancy. We just want to make sure the electrics in your home are safe. What’s a short time of inconvenience against a lifetime of regret if there’s a terrible accident because you wouldn’t let us in to do the safety test?
If you receive an appointment for an electrical safety test and you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0300 555 5560.