Safety Switches – Smoke Alarms – Electrical Wiring – Landlord and property manager responsibilities

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Licensed Electrician at United Electrical Services
Licensed Electrician in Melbourne, Registered Electrical Contractor. Currently servicing Melbourne and surrounding suburbs I've been working actively in the electrical industry for 30 years and registered with Energy Safe Victoria.
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Who is responsible for maintaining electrical equipment and safety.

When it come to landlords and tenants the most asked question about who is responsible with smoke alarm testing and maintenance, safety switch installations or questionable electrical safety of fixed electrical wiring on a rented property will always bring forward heated discussions.
Read the fine print

Read the fine print

So who is Responsible, well I came across this information from Energy Safe Victoria and I think this may help most relevant parties as to who’s responsible and thought it be a good idea to post this for anyone that needs this sort of information.

Landlord and property manager responsibilities.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 requires a landlord to ensure that rented accommodation is maintained in good repair. “Good repair” includes all electrical appliances provided by the landlord. These must be safe to use and properly maintained.

There are two critical areas relating to electricity safety:

Proper installation of new or replacement electricity appliances;
Correct maintenance and use of existing appliances by following manufacturers’ instructions.

Failure to meet these requirements can cause death or serious injury as well as serious property damage.

Tenants also have responsibilities, including reporting appliance faults to the landlord or the landlord’s agent.

The landlord and the agent should work together to ensure that a safety check is done at agreed intervals and at least every two years.

Consumer Affairs

The landlord’s responsibilities:

Ensure only licensed persons do all electrical work.
Before re-letting, ensure all appliances are safe and any unsafe appliance is repaired or removed.
Ensure electrical appliances are cleaned regularly in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions – particular attention should be paid to dust build-up on cooling fan inlets and all parts of heaters.
Check electrical appliances for damage to plugs, leads and casings that may expose ’live’ parts or cause a fire. • Ensure electrical wiring, socket outlets and switches are maintained in a safe condition.
Ensure all ventilation openings are clear and unobstructed.
Record all safety checks and details of work carried out on an license
electrical installation.

The tenant’s responsibilities:

Use appliances appropriately.
Allow reasonable access for the landlord’s contractor to carry out electricity safety checks.
Report any fault or malfunction to the landlord or agent.
Stop using any appliance that is obviously faulty.
Do not illegally install, remove or tamper with any electrical appliance.
Do not use damaged appliances – they can cause fires and injuries.
Do not use multiple or cascaded power boards as a substitute for permanently installed socket outlets.
Ensure that portable heaters are kept away from combustible materials including paper and curtains.
When replacing electrical fuses or fuse wire, only use the specified rating. Oversized fuses may cause the fixed wiring to fail resulting in electric shock or fire.

Doing electrical work

Don't Do It Yourself
Don’t Do It Yourself

A registered electrical contractor must be engaged to carry out electrical work around the property. It is illegal and dangerous for unqualified people to perform electricity or gas work around the home. A number of landlords have recently been prosecuted for doing illegal work on their properties.

When the electrician arrives, check that he or she has a license issued by Energy Safe Victoria. A certificate of electrical safety must be issued when the work is completed. If the electrician refuses to show his or her license and/or refuses to issue a certificate of electrical safety, please inform ESV immediately on 1800 800 158.
Energy Safe Victoria

Energy Safe Victoria


So the take away here is if you are a landlord and you are letting out a property without a safety switch it is the landlords responsibility that the property’s electrical system is kept up to date and in a safe working condition. Since safety switches reduce the risk of electrocution, I would think it would be a sensible idea to introduce a safety switch to the property for everyone’s well being.

So don’t take my word for it contact Energy Safe Victoria or the Residential Tenancies Act for more information.