Fires resulting from white goods are putting the safety of tenants at risk and have cost the economy over £118 million over the last five years.
Research from the Brigade’s Total Recalls campaign in 2016 found that since 2011 London Brigade firefighters have attended 2,072 fires relating to white goods. This figure amounts to almost a blaze a day, with a notable occurrence being a fire in Shepherds Bush in August last year, caused by a faulty tumble dryer.
In the UK, the average success rate of an electrical product recall is a mere 10-20 per cent. This renders millions of recalled electrical items still in use in UK rental accommodation. The hassle associated with recalling a product is widely accepted, and thus the majority of these faulty products are only recalled when they pose a significant risk of electric shock or fire. The Brigade has urged tenants to stop using faulty appliances, such as dryers, whilst they wait for them to be replaced or repaired.
Founder and CEO of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers, explained: ‘Many landlords provide white goods in rental properties, including fridges and freezers that are switched on 24 hours a day. Landlords and agents should check to see if their fridges and freezers have been recalled and immediately advise tenants of any issues.’
There are several steps landlords can take in order to protect tenants’ safety with regards to faulty white goods. Kneppers continued: ‘Landlords and agents should also ensure their properties have fully working smoke alarms. Landlords are legally required to fit smoke alarms in rented homes, as well as offer protection against carbon monoxide poisoning. They are also required to check all alarms are working when a new tenancy starts – with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply. Thorough property reports which flag items in need of repair are an essential part of ensuring that tenants remain safe in rented accommodation and that landlords avoid paying heavy fines.’