Landlords and tenancy
Landlords and property managers have legislated electrical safety responsibilities.
The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 requires landlords to ensure rented accommodation is maintained in good repair. This includes ensuring the safe working and proper maintenance of all electrical appliances provided by the landlord.
The landlord and the landlord’s agent should work together to ensure that a safety check for all appliances is carried out at agreed intervals and at least every two years.
There are two critical areas relating to electrical safety:
- Proper installation of new or replacement electricity appliances, and
- 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.
- Ensure only licensed electrical professionals perform all electrical work
- Before re-letting, ensure all appliances are safe and any unsafe appliance is repaired or disposed of
- 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 a licensed electrical installation.
Tenants also have responsibilities, including reporting appliance faults to the landlord or the landlord’s agent.
- Use appliances appropriately and as intended by the manufacturer
- Allow reasonable access for the landlord’s contractor to carry out electricity safety checks
- Report any fault or malfunction to the landlord or agent
- Immediately stop using any appliance that is clearly faulty
- Do not illegally install, remove or tamper with any electrical appliance
- Do not use damaged appliances – they can cause fires and serious injury or death
- 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, bedding 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.
Performing electrical work
A registered electrical contractor must be engaged to perform all electrical work on a property. It is illegal and dangerous for unqualified people to perform electricity or gas work. Landlords and tenants will be prosecuted by ESV for carrying out illegal work on their properties.
Check the electrical professional has a license issued by Energy Safe Victoria.
The electrician must issue a certificate of electrical safety (COES) once the work has been completed.
If an electrician refuses to show his or her license and/or refuses to issue a certificate of electrical safety, please inform ESV immediately on (03) 9203 9700 or 1800 800 158 or use our online complaints form.
Read your rights and responsibilities.
Consumer Affairs Victoria provides information regarding landlords and tenants when one party breaches their responsibilities.