Property news roundup: Electric problems putting renters' lives at risk

Plus messy kitchens, selling in Essex, and wasp nests

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The Independent Online

Electrical Safety First and Shelter are calling for a change in the law after their joint report suggested that a third of rented properties fail to meet basic electrical safety standards.

At the moment there is no legal requirement for landlords to ensure that electrics are safe before renting out a property or to check the wiring and any electrical appliances they have provided on a regular basis.

"Mandatory five yearly checks are the only way to ensure that all private rented sector properties are safe," said Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First. "This change in law would be very easy to implement as the primary legislation already exists and our research shows that the majority of MPs would support a change in law."

Selling in Essex

Sellers in Essex are receiving 98 per cent of the asking price with 15 buyers chasing each property, according to Balgores Property Group whose figures show properties in Essex are selling in 22 days.

"There has been growing confidence amongst vendors and buyers because of low interest rates and improving economic conditions," said Martin Gibbon, Managing Director of Balgores. "This has led to a boom in the housing market in Essex. Our research reveals that homes are moving very quickly in some parts of Essex, notably Romford and Hornchurch, where it is taking just 13 days to sell a property."

Messy kitchens

British kitchens are the messiest in Europe, according to a study by Samsung, which also shows that it is the room that causes the most household disputes (a third of families polled got into arguments because of kitchen clutter).

More than a quarter of people say they just pile up items in cupboards to get them out of sight and nearly half admit that they would be embarrassed if a guest opened the door of their refrigerator.

The main causes of kitchen tensions are people putting empty packets or cartons back in the cupboard or refrigerator (53 per cent) and other people not throwing things in the bin which are past their sell-by date (47 per cent).

Wasp nests

New research from AA Home Membership shows that more than half of people have had a wasp nest in their home.

They were most common in the north east where 58 per cent said they’d had one in their home, while those in the south west had the fewest (39 per cent).

"Wasps aren’t just a nuisance, they can be dangerous and stressful for those who live close by," said Helen Brooker, Head of AA Home Membership. "We typically see a huge increase in calls for wasp nest removals as the weather warms up. Tackling a wasp nest is dangerous and best left to the professionals. If you do have a nest, try to get it sorted as soon as you can. If you manage to find it earlier in the summer that should mean it’s smaller and easier to deal with."

Around a third of those affected by a wasp nest in the AA survey said that they had it removed by a professional while a similar figure tried to get rid of it themselves.