Queensland legislation states that owners of domestic rental accommodation must install a safety switch in a rental property if one is not already fitted.
This is so occupants of every property are protected from electric shock. If your rental property does not have a safety switch installed you must immediately arrange installation by a licensed electrician.
At Position One, our property managers are experienced and well trained to help you understand what your obligations are under the appropriate laws. Whether pool safety, smoke detectors , blind cords or with regard to electrical safety in your rental property.
Do you know if you have an electrical safety switch (also known as a Residual Current Device or RCD) in your Brisbane Rental property?
If you are not sure whether you do, or not, you will find the following facts we have compiled quite useful.
Penalties Apply for Non-Compliance with Legislation
The legislation is enforceable for all owners of rental properties in Queensland. At least one electrical safety switch is to be installed in a property. If none is installed you may get fines of up to $1,500. When a non-compliance with the electrical safety legislation is noted, the penalties include a fine. There will also be a notice to comply with the safety regulations. In order to comply with the legislation, the device must be installed promptly by a licensed electrical contractor.
Safety of Tenants is Paramount
The purpose of the electrical safety regulations is to make sure that everyone is protected from electric shock. This is no matter whether you live in a rental property or you own home. Queensland law now requires the installation of an electrical safety switch in all properties. Even an older property must have a safety switch installed at the time of signing a lease agreement.
If you do not believe a safety switch is installed in your rental property, then you should certainly discuss with your Position One property manager. Because we understand the legislation and the requirements for compliance with the safety regulations, our property managers are trained to recognise an electrical safety switch. Furthermore, our property managers understand the importance of complying with the safety regulations, and can advise property owners of their obligations and to make sure that the rental property is compliant as a matter of urgency.
How Does a Safety Switch Work?
An electrical safety switch, or Residual Current Device (RCD), acts as a guard against electrical shock. When it senses the potential for any electrical leakage, it instantly shuts down the electrical circuit. This is different from a circuit breaker which only shuts off after an overload. A safety switch not only protects the owners of a property, but also the tenants, visitors, and tradesmen who need to do maintenance and repairs at a property.
RCD or SS Identification
To identify whether you have a safety switch installed at your property, you need to look inside the electrical switchboard. An electrical safety switch looks just like a circuit breaker but should be labelled differently from the other circuit breakers. The labels are interchangeable, but should be something along the lines of “safety switch”, “Residual current device”, or maybe “Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker”. These descriptions are often shortened to “SS”, “RCD” or “ELCB” respectively. The important takeaway message here is if you are unsure, discuss it with your property manager. Additionally, you may have an electrician check that a safety switch is installed, and operational.
I Found One – Is That Enough?
Even if the rental property has a RCD installed in the switchboard, doubt can exist whether it has been installed correctly. One device does not confirm whether the whole property is properly protected. Typically, a safety switch is installed on a power circuit within the home. If the property has multiple power circuits, then each of those power circuits should be protected with a safety switch.
This protection must extend to separate circuits for all functions. This includes air conditioning, hot water, swimming pool, and even the lighting circuits. This ensures the property is fully protected.
It Doesn’t Cost Much to Comply
In fact, it costs a lot less to comply with safety regulations than to be at fault of a disaster.
Safety switches cost in the order of $200 to install. This is entirely affordable. But could have a huge impact on protecting the occupants of a rental property. The best time and easiest time to consider installing a safety switch? When you are having other electrical work done. For a little extra cost, a qualified electrician can install a safety switch whilst doing other work at a property.
What if You Are a Tenant?
At Position One, our property managers are trained in the importance of having a safety switch in every rental property. We encourage our tenants to be aware of the location or lack of a safety switch, and to contact the property manager if there are any concerns about safety. Our Position One property managers will act immediately in conjunction with landlords to ensure all our rental properties comply with electrical safety standards.
Call us for advice or assistance 07 3843 4511