Landlords, lift your game: Safety issues are putting tenants at risk

Landlords, lift your game: Safety issues are putting tenants at risk
Landlords, lift your game: Safety issues are putting tenants at risk

When it comes to safety and the upkeep of the investment properties, or “rental properties,” the question that echoes through the industry is this one: Who is liable should anything happen to the tenants? In my last article there were a number of issues raised and the need for property managers to be better versed in the area of safety and hazards that are overlooked in rental properties. This time around we will look at electrical issues.


Electrical fuse boxes

With over 1,000 electric shocks, and on average four fatalities reported in NSW in 2010-2012, I am once again calling out to the authorities to take action in what is an alarming situation when it comes to lack of safety and electrical negligence on the part of the agents/landlords. In the last three months we have inspected new managements coming into our office and find a disturbing number of properties with dangerous and faulty electrical cabling and particularly fuse boxes with no adequate safety measures.

Many believe that by having one “safety switch” it is enough to protect the occupants. Well, it’s not. These only protect the power circuits in most instances. What of the light circuits, the hard wired stoves, water heaters and air conditioning units that require circuit breakers? But then there are also a number of properties that don’t even have a safety switch.

Alarmingly we come across these regularly. I am not referring to just self-managed rental homes either, but also to properties that have been managed by professional agencies and for many years.


Where do we begin?

I am not calling for real estate agents to become electricians, but surely simple observations can determine if the main electrical boxes require professional attention and upgrading. The main indicator will no doubt be the age of the property itself. My soccer coach used to tell us “if in doubt kick it out” when we found ourselves overwhelmed with the opposing side attacking our goal. Likewise, I say “if in doubt call the expert” in this case the electrician that is up to speed with the regulations and requirements. Better still, send the electrician a photo through your smartphone and get an answer ASAP. Don’t delay the response or action, electricity is not to be messed with.

What I am calling for, is the industry to lift its game when it comes to safety issues and hazards in and around rental properties. But as stated previously, there are many factors preventing and creating an impasse for any lift in standards.

Edwin Almeida is managing partner and licensee-in-charge of Just Think Real Estate.


Edwin Almeida

Edwin Almeida

Edwin Almeida is managing partner and licensee-in-charge of Just Think Real Estate.

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