Landlords are required by law to ensure that every rented property is safe for dwelling by the established electrical standards. Whether you are a property manager, a landlord, an electrician, or a tenant, it is really important for you to know this information for different reasons altogether. As a Rental Property Manager, it is your job to ensure that the property you are managing is functional, safe and livable. As a landlord, you not only have to ensure your tenant’s safety but also ensure that you don’t break law by not following the rules and regulations. As an electrician, it is important to know the electrical requirements of the rental property, because you might end up working on one day and when that happens you want to come prepared to be able to make suggestions and ensure that your client gets the best deal. As a tenant, truth be told, it comes down to your life. You really need to know all these points by heart so that the next time you rent an apartment you can thoroughly check and gauge whether it meets the standards and can ensure your safety.
Now that we have established the importance of following (and implementing) the rental properties electrical requirements, let’s take a look at what they are!
Property Condition Report
Before the start and the end of the tenancy, the lessor needs to prepare a property condition report which must include all the details about the conditions of every room. It also needs to include information about the fixed electrical appliances such as air conditioners, washing machines, ovens, water heaters, exhaust fans, and so on.
When the tenant moves into a new space, the lessor needs to provide this report within seven days. Once the tenant has checked and assessed the quality of things and verified that it is indeed in sync with what’s written in the agreement, then it’s good to go. One copy of the report should be kept with the tenant and one with the lessor.
Landlords have to ensure that each of their property is fitted with the required number of smoke alarms, which can vary depending on the size of the building as mentioned in the Building Code of Australia. All the installed smoke alarms need to be compliant with the Australian Standard 3786-1993 and be positioned as such. Alarms need to be replaced once they have exhausted their service life as mentioned in the warranty.
The smoke alarms should be powered by the main power, not be more than 10 years old, and be in working order such that they are permanently connected to the mains. However if there’s a space in the building where the mains power is not available or concealed wires are not allowed in that construction, then a smoke alarm with a 10 -year battery life is permissible.
The maintenance of the smoke alarms is up to the tenants and they need to check regularly whether they are working or not. And if the battery is outdated then they need to replace it, too.
Most of the buildings built since 1977 tend to comply with the smoke alarms regulations. Houses and apartments that were constructed after 1st May 2015 should have at least two smoke alarms installed and they need to be interconnected.
Residual Current Devices (Safety Switches)
Even though not all Australian states require by law to install safety switches for power outlets, power circuits and light circuits, it is required by law in Western Australia. The landlord might incur penalties if the rule is not applied.
RCDs need to be installed in compliance with AS/NZS:3000 Wiring rules. It means that the landlord has to ensure that there are at least two functioning RCDs that protects all the power and lighting circuits on a rental property.
Just like smoke alarms, when it comes to testing, it is left up to tenants. They have to test the RCDs every three months and if it turns out to be faulty it needs to be reported right away. It is worth noting here that most manufacturers recommend testing RCDs every 30 days.
If RCDs are not installed as per the rules and regulations then an individual can incur a penalty up to $15K and a corporate body up to $100K.
The rental property electrical requirements can vary from state to state, but usually, the landlords have to ensure that a certain level of electrical safety is maintained at all times on the rental property.
Only licensed electrical contractors and electricians should be hired to perform the electrical work.
Even before the property is leased or a new tenant is accepted, it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that all the appliances in the home are in a safe and good working condition. If any appliance is found to be dirty or unhygienic then it needs to be cleaned per the manufacturer’s instructions. And if the appliance is faulty, then it should be replaced right away.
All the appliances, casing and wiring should be thoroughly checked to ensure that they are safe and not damaged.
So, what do you think? The next time you rent a property, do you think you’re going to be better prepared about the electrical requirements that you need to expect? Let us know!