Short on Safety?
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s plan to regulate short -term lets, Wayne Mackay, Public Affairs Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland, for leading consumer protection charity, Electrical Safety First, said:
“We warmly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment, given in its Programme for Government, to legislate for short-term lets (STLs), such as those listed on Airbnb – which have dramatically increased in recent years.
“However, we believe it is imperative that the proposed licensing scheme includes a requirement for mandatory electrical safety checks. Three quarters of Scotland’s fires are caused by electricity. In fact, it is the number one cause of fire in Scottish homes. And the risk of fire is likely to be increased if a property has a high turnover of residents and lacks regular electrical checks.
“The Scottish Government led the UK in protecting tenants by requiring regular electrical safety checks, by a registered electrician, in all privately rented homes. But the legislation doesn’t cover tenants in owner occupied homes. As the majority of STLs are in owner-occupied properties, with research finding that a quarter of Scotland’s STL guests had experienced an electrical safety issue, this shortfall must be addressed.
“Electrical Safety First is calling for STL’s to be required to have mandatory, five-yearly, electrical safety checks carried out by a registered electrician, so that it is on par with the private rented sector. Given the fact that many electrical fires are caused by appliances, we would also want to see a requirement for all electrical appliances provided in STLs to be registered with the manufacturer. This would allow companies to contact owners, should there be a fault with the product and need to be recalled.
“We believe our proposals benefit all, protecting both STL guests and STL landlords, by helping to ensure both people and properties are safe from electrical risk.”