Electrical safety check requirements for VIC rental properties

Man, An Electrical Technician Working In A Switchboard With Fuses. Installation And Connection Of Electrical Equipment.

As a landlord or property manager in Victoria, prioritising your tenants’ safety is crucial. One area that requires special attention is electrical safety.

In this article, we will explore the importance of electrical safety checks, the specific legal requirements for Victorian rental properties, what is included in an electrical safety check and how to choose a qualified electrical safety check services company.

By understanding these key aspects, you can ensure that your rental properties meet all necessary safety standards and provide a secure living environment for your tenants.

Why are electrical safety checks important?

Regular electrical safety checks are vital for ensuring tenant safety and complying with legal requirements.

By conducting these checks, landlords and property managers can proactively identify and address potential hazards or faulty wiring that could pose risks to occupants.

In Victoria, it is a legal obligation to carry out such inspections every two years to prevent accidents and ensure compliance with regulations.

Complying with legislation – electrical safety check requirements in Victoria

Since 29 March 2021, rental properties have been subject to new VIC minimum housing standards. The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 introduced a multitude of complex new regulations including compulsory smoke alarm, gas and electrical safety checks.

Who is responsible for conducting electrical safety checks?

Under Victorian legislation, tenants are referred to as ‘renters’ and landlords are referred to as ‘rental providers’. The rental provider (i.e. landlord) is responsible for ensuring their rental properties meet the minimum requirements for electrical safety in their property.

How often should electrical safety checks be done?

  • The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 state that electrical safety checks must be conducted for all electrical switchboards, wiring and fittings in the premises by a licensed electrician every two years.
  • Additionally, since 29 March 2023 rental properties have been required to have modern-style switchboards. The new regulations state that switchboards must have circuit breakers and electrical safety switches, also known as residual current devices (RCD, RCCB, or RCBO), installed. These additions will help protect electrical wiring and prevent electrocution by disconnecting power when the electricity current is flowing somewhere it shouldn’t be. The introduction of this additional legislation led to a sudden rush for Victorian rental property switchboard upgrades in 2023.

By conducting regular electrical safety checks, landlords can ensure that their rental properties meet the necessary standards to protect tenants from potential hazards.

Ensuring tenant safety

Identifying Potential Hazards and Minimising Risks: As a landlord or property manager, it’s crucial to be proactive in identifying potential electrical hazards within your rental properties. Inspecting for frayed wires or faulty outlets, and ensuring proper earthing and installing the correct switchboards can significantly reduce the risk of electric shocks or fires. Taking these precautions not only protects your tenants but also safeguards against costly damages that could arise from neglecting maintenance.

Protecting Tenants from Electrical Accidents: Regular electrical safety checks help protect your tenants from potentially life-threatening accidents caused by faulty wiring or outdated switchboards. By staying vigilant and addressing any issues promptly, you create an environment where tenants feel secure in their homes.

Avoiding disruption and costly repairs

Detecting faulty wiring or outdated systems early on is crucial to avoid disruption and costly repairs. Regular electrical safety checks can identify potential issues before they become major problems, allowing you to take proactive measures.

By investing in preventive maintenance, you can save money on emergency repairs and ensure the safety of your rental property. Stay ahead of the game by scheduling regular inspections and addressing any issues promptly to protect both your tenants and your investment.

What are the signs of a potential electrical safety risk?

While the legal requirement is to complete electrical safety checks every two years in Victoria, it’s important not to overlook any signs or changes that may require immediate attention between these inspections.

Pay close attention to issues such as flickering lights, power surges, or unusual noises coming from appliances as these could indicate underlying problems with your property’s electrical system and/or appliances. By addressing them promptly and conducting additional checks when needed, you can minimise risks and ensure ongoing tenant safety.

Signs that a switchboard upgrade may be necessary: Flickering lights, frequent circuit breaker trips, and outdated wiring are all telltale signs that your rental property’s switchboard may need an upgrade. Don’t ignore these warning signals as they can pose serious safety risks to your tenants and the property itself.

What are the consequences of failing to complete an electrical safety check?

Before a rental agreement is entered (including new leases and lease renewals), the rental provider must disclose to the tenant the date of the most recent gas and electrical safety check, and any outstanding recommendations for work to be completed. Additionally, the condition report must include the dates of the most recent gas and electrical safety checks, and smoke alarms inspection, and a copy must be provided to the tenant. Tenants may also request a copy of the most recent gas and electrical safety checks.

If on occupation of the property, the safety checks have not been completed within the past two years, the rental provider must arrange for them to happen as soon as practicable.

If a rental provider does not adhere to the above conditions, they may incur penalty units issued by Consumer Affairs Victoria for breaching the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The current cost is $184.92 per penalty unit. The sections which relate to the above conditions, Section 30D and Section 35, carry potential penalties of 60 and 25 penalty units respectively. This means if a landlord is in breach of both sections the total possible fine is $15,718.20.

Landlords must also be aware of the added risk that any insurance claims may be voided.

What is included in an electrical safety check?

Inspection of Wiring and Electrical Systems

Visual inspection of electrical wiring is a crucial step in ensuring the safety of your rental property. This involves a careful assessment by detailed visual inspection and appropriate testing. This includes an assessment that the installation is in good/working order, does not show signs of misuse or damage and passes limited appropriate requirements of AS-NZS 3019.

In addition to inspecting the wiring, it’s important to assess the condition of power outlets and switches throughout your property. Look out for any cracks, discolouration, or other visible signs of damage. Faulty outlets can pose a serious risk and should be addressed promptly.

Testing of safety switches

Ensuring the proper functioning of safety switches is vital for the electrical safety of rental properties.

Remember, neglecting these tests can put your tenants’ lives at risk and can also result in hefty fines or legal consequences for non-compliance with electrical safety regulations. Stay proactive and ensure the utmost protection by regularly inspecting and testing your property’s safety switches.

Identification of potential hazards

  • Overloaded circuits or power boards: A thorough inspection and assessment of the load capacity of your electrical circuits and power boards is vital.
  • Water exposure in electrical areas: Water damage or moisture near electrical fixtures, outlets, or appliances can cause short circuits and pose a serious risk of electric shock.
  • Suitability and placement of electrical appliances: The suitability and positioning of all electrical appliances within your rental property needs to be evaluated. Consideration needs to be made to ensure they are placed away from water sources, protected from physical damage, and used according to their intended purpose.

Choosing a qualified electrical safety check company

By using the services of a qualified electrical safety check company, you can ensure that your property is properly inspected and maintained according to Victorian legal requirements.

Look for accreditation and licensing

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Check for a valid electrical contractor license: Make sure the inspector holds a current and valid license to perform electrical inspections.
  • Verify that the inspector has undergone proper training and certification: They must have received adequate training and possess relevant certifications in conducting thorough electrical safety checks and switchboard upgrades.

By prioritising these factors, you can have peace of mind knowing that your rental property will undergo a comprehensive and reliable electrical inspection.

Ask for references and recommendations

Requesting references and recommendations is an important step when hiring an electrical inspector for your rental property.

  • Consider online reviews or ratings of the inspector’s services: Check Google reviews and ratings from other customers who have used the inspector’s services.

Choose our professional, affordable VIC electrical safety check and switchboard upgrade services

Our Home Safe Solutions subscriptions ensures your rental properties comply with the smoke alarm, electrical, and gas safety check requirements, all within one bundled package.

You can see our affordable pricing and conveniently book online here:

Home Safe Solutions Subscription Inclusions:

Smoke Alarms
  • An annual compliance inspection to ensure smoke alarms are compliant.
  • Free re-attendance when beeping or faulty alarms require attention.
  • Free installation or replacement of any faulty, expired, missing or damaged 9 volt or 240 volt smoke alrams if required by legislation.
  • 24/7 Emergency Service for sounding smoke alarms requiring attention*
  • A compliance report following each inspection.
Electrical Appliances
  • A check of all landlord supplied electrical appliances, fittings and installations including earth loop and polarity tests of all accessible power points.
  • Free replacement of faulty or damaged safety switches, circuit breakers and standard light switches, and power points at initial visit.
  • We will provide a 12 month warranty on any repaired or replaced electrical item.
  • A compliance report following each inspection.
Gas Appliances
  • A check of the gas line and all landlord supplied gas appliances for faults and carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Free replacement of faulty or damaged thermocouples and the protection of synthetic pipework at initial visit.
  • We will provide a 12 month warranty on any repaired or replaced gas fitting.
  • 6 year defective workmanship insurance on gas rectification works.
  • A compliance report following each inspection.

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