As a landlord it is important to keep up to date with all property maintenance responsibilities, however none are more crucial than those relating to electrical safety!
Legislation is every-changing in the electrical space, which can make it difficult for landlords to keep up with safety requirements! To make this a little easier, we have created a simplified list of some of the key electrical safety requirements for your investment property – to keep your tenants and your property safe!
Your responsibility, your choice!
First we need to talk about selecting a contractor.
Most property owners will employ the electrician that their property agent recommends. But did you know, sometimes property agents can be incentivised by trade companies for passing these referrals on?
Not a big deal, right? Well, it can be.
There are a lot of trade companies out there that do not have appropriate qualifications or insurance and perform poor workmanship – not to mention the issues that can be created with tenants on site due to poor service!
Our advice – pick your own contractor and have your property agent set them up in their maintenance system.
You wouldn’t choose a contractor for your own home without doing your research, why would you take the risk for your investment property!
As of January 2022, landlords must install interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms in all residential rental properties at the commencement of a new lease or lease renewal. Interconnected smoke alarms can be wired or wirelessly connected, allowing all of the alarms in the property to sound when any one alarm is activated.
Photoelectric smoke alarms (also known as photo-optical alarms) detect physical particles of combustion, responding quicker and to a larger range of fires then traditional alarms. These must be installed on each storey, in each bedroom and in hallways that connect the bedrooms with the rest of the property, requiring testing and cleaning within 30 days of every new tenancy or tenancy renewal.
Safety Switches & Switchboards
Safety switches quickly switch off the electrical supply if an electrical fault is detected to minimise the risk of electric fires, shock, injury and death. At a minimum, domestic rental properties must have safety switches fitted to power point circuits by law, and if there is not already a safety switch present one must be installed within six months of the tenancy agreement.
There is no exact time frame provided for safety switch testing, however it is recommended that safety switches are tested using the in-built test button on a six-monthly basis and then by a qualified electrician every two years. Tenants should know exactly where these safety switches are located, and it is a good idea to have safety switches and smoke alarm testing done simultaneously.
Whilst not required by law, if your investment property has a solar power system installed, you should have it inspected and maintained by an accredited solar installer every 12 months. These checks include ensuring vents are clear of debris, panels are clean, switches are free of defects and that the battery storage system is in good working order. It is illegal and highly dangerous to do your own electrical maintenance or repairs on your solar power system.