Guernsey Environmental Health wants landlord checks

Landlords in Guernsey may have to pay for regular health and safety checks to protect tenants.

Environmental Health wants to introduce regular inspections to improve living conditions and reduce the risk of fire or electrocution from faulty wiring.

A spokesman for the Guernsey Private Residential Landlords Association said most properties were already safe.

Val Cameron, head of Environmental Health, said the existing system did not go far enough.

Currently there are no laws in place to enforce checks for fire safety, gas boilers and electricity so tenants are reliant on the goodwill of their landlord.

‘Unnecessary expense’

Mrs Cameron said: “There have been a number of occasions where colleagues in my team have been called out to look at housing conditions where the tenants of the property feel the conditions are affecting their health and well-being.

“There have been times where electrical wiring has been a problem and we’ve had to take action with the landlord to try to bring about improvements.”

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You can’t compare those costs with the loss of life”

Val Cameron Environmental Health

Clive Maides, chairman of the Guernsey Private Residential Landlords Association, said if any legislation were to be brought in there needed to be “a common sense approach”.

He said: “It needs to be equitable and should not only protect the tenant but the landlord, who don’t generally want to be banded as bad individuals.

“It could mean unnecessary expense for landlords, which will no doubt reflect in rents or may even put landlords off investing in property to let out.”

Mrs Cameron said: “If we can secure compliance without statutory intervention then that’s the best way forward.

“We do need some statutory powers behind all of that because we do come across certain conditions where the owners, landlords or agents are very reluctant to carry out these improvements.

“You can’t compare those costs with the loss of life, say from an electrical shock or someone being gassed or carbon dioxide poisoning.”