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General home safety guidance

If you're a council tenant we have provided general information below in relation to electrical safety checks, communal areas including electric scooters and lifts along with advice about smoke alarms and asbestos.

Electrical Safety Checks, (EICR Electrical Installation Condition Report)

Redditch Borough Council are required under best practice guidance to test the electrical installation within your property every 5 years.

You will receive a letter from us providing you with a scheduled appointment date, we will require access to your property for the test to be completed, this can take up to 4 hours so please contact us, if you need to re-arrange this appointment.

We will need access to all electrical points for the inspection to be fully completed.

What will be inspected and tested?

The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the plug sockets, the light fittings and the consumer unit (fuse box) will be inspected.

What will happen in the inspection?

We will arrange for a qualified operative to inspect the fixed electrical installations in your property. The time the inspection will take will vary depending on the size of the property and the quality of the electrical installations being inspected.

Typical things that will be identified:

  • Any of your electrical installations are overloaded
  • There are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • There is any defective electrical work
  • There is a lack of earthing or bonding

What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.

You’re responsible for making sure that any of your own electrical appliances are safe.

For more information go to Guide for tenants: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector - GOV.UK (

You may also want to consider registering your own electrical appliances with a product registration scheme.

For more guidance see our Handy Hints Repairs booklet which contains lots of electrical safety information.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms

Redditch Borough Council have a legal duty to ensure smoke alarms are installed in each of its rented properties and dwellings, along with the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance excluding cookers.

There is also a legal duty to ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found to be faulty.

It is essential to protect your home by having working smoke alarms installed.

Smoke alarms are the first responder in the event of a fire, so it is vital you have adequate protection, that is in full working order.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an extremely poisonous gas that is tasteless, odourless and colourless; it is produced by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, such as gas, wood and coal. The best way to stay protected is with alarms.

Make Sure Your Alarms Work

For guidance on how to test your alarms see pages 46 and 47 of our Handy Hints Repairs booklet which contains guidance on fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm testing.

Guidance on fire safety in the home is also available from GOV.UK

General safety in communal areas

Good housekeeping is fundamental to reducing risk in communal areas within our blocks of flats.

Controlling the presence of combustible materials and ignition sources not only reduces the potential for accidental fires to start and develop in the common parts, it also significantly reduces the scope for deliberate fires whilst ensuring that escape routes are free of obstructions, as this could hinder the evacuation of people from the building and access for fire-fighters.

Redditch Borough Council adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, therefore residents are not permitted to use the common parts to store or dispose of their belongings or rubbish. No exceptions apply. We have adopted this approach in communal areas to keep these free of combustible material, ignition sources and obstructions.

As part of this zero-tolerance policy storage of ANY KIND is prohibited in communal areas the below items pose a particular risk;

  • Items to be left awaiting disposal, not even in chute rooms – even short-term presence poses a risk.
  • Furniture of any type.
  • Scooters, bicycles, prams and so forth.
  • Motorcycles, mowers and other gardening equipment containing petrol and other fuels.
  • Stored flammable liquids, fuels, oil based paints etc.
  • Any alteration or addition of the communal area is completely prohibited including the installation of floor coverings and decorations.

To control possible sources of ignition please pay particular attention to the below:

By law, smoking is not allowed in communal areas within our blocks of flats.

  • Electrical sockets and outlets provided within protected escape routes are for use by authorised council operative only
  • You are prohibited from installing electrics, running leads, or storing and using white good anywhere within communal areas
  • Charging of mobility scooters, Escooters, Ebike, batteries or other electrical equipment in common parts. Recently there have been many worrying cases of fire/explosion associated with the charging of batteries, due to the nature of these incidents we make special reference to this. Further information is available here.

Communal lift safety and inspections

As your landlord, we must make sure any lifts in your communal areas are safe to use. We conduct checks and inspections to ensure they work safely. To help keep you and your visitors safe, the lifts are checked by an independent engineer twice a year.

Fire Alarms

Redditch Borough Council have fitted fire alarms in some communal areas, familiarise yourself with the fire strategy outlined in the communal area so you can follow this in the event of an alarm sounding.

Asbestos Annual Checks

Some of our properties contain asbestos. Asbestos materials are not dangerous if they are sealed, in good condition and left undisturbed.
However, you are at risk if you disturb it by drilling, cutting or breaking it.

If you carry out DIY, such as drilling boards to fix shelves, removing ducts or bath panels or lifting floor tiles, and you are unsure about whether it contains asbestos, you must contact us.

You will be advised on whether a particular area where the repair is reported contains asbestos or not.

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