HUNDREDS of dangerous hazards that could cause electric shocks or fires have been discovered in private homes in Southampton.
More than 650 electrical hazards discovered in the city required immediate work for the safety of tenants.
Hazards included exposed wires, badly damaged power outlets, and overheated wires.
The scale of the problem was discovered by the charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) after submitting freedom of information requests to councils across the country.
Southampton City Council registered the hazards after a change in the law required private property owners to carry out electrical safety checks and report faults to local authorities.
Checks must be carried out once every five years in private rental accommodation.
The data covered defects found between the entry into force of the law in June 2020 and the date of filing of the application in October 2021.
The defects were either “present danger”, with an immediate risk to safety, or “potential danger”.
Some 222 faults have been found in the New Forest, 52 in Eastleigh and 18 in Test Valley.
A Southampton electrician said he found faults during most of his checks. Many could cause fire or electric shock if left unchecked.
Neill Jenkins, a NICEIC electrician from Jenkins Electrical, said, “I find faults on most of the checks I do.
“Some properties I see have hidden hazards that present a real risk and which, without the controls, could lead to fire or even electric shock.
“What I see on these premises is usually deteriorated wiring and fittings after years of stress on a property that hasn’t been checked. The majority of them probably haven’t been checked in over 20 years old.
“The checks we carry out will normally detect between five and up to 20 faults listed in observations ranging from melted connections inside fittings to loose connections to general violations of grounding issue regulations that could even lead to a high risk of electric shock in a faulty state.
“Landlords are generally very happy to have the issue resolved, it protects their tenants and the property.”
Before the introduction of the law in June 2020, there was no legal obligation to regularly inspect and test electrical installations.
The law does not cover social housing. While some homeowners carry out electrical safety checks at intervals of five to ten years, the charity asks that the same laws apply.
The charity’s chief executive, Lesley Rudd, said: ‘Private rented homes in Southampton are now a much safer place to live thanks to these new safety laws.
“Without them, hundreds of faults identified in Southampton could have gone completely unnoticed. Owners must comply with their obligations under the law or risk hefty fines.
“We are now urging the government to also introduce these safety checks for people living in the social rented sector.”
More than 1,000 dangerous faults have been discovered in Hampshire and almost 7,000 in 98 local authorities in England.
Access to information requests were submitted to 354 local authorities and 283 responded.
Southampton was one of the areas with the most defects and repair work, along with Kings Lynn & West Norfolk, Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
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While the majority of homeowners keep their properties in good repair, safety checks reveal shocking and dangerous electrical conditions in some homes. A Southampton-based NICEIC electrician has shared his findings which, without intervention, would have left the tenant and the property at risk.
Images reveal cracked and damaged power outlets exposing the tenant to electric shock as well as exposed wiring to light fixtures, all of which put the property at risk of fire.