Commissioner's Blog: Rental property safety – being vigilant
With Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe
We have received complaints from tenants recently about electrical hazards and gas leaks in rental properties. Issues include faulty electrical wiring, power sockets and appliances blowing, power shortages when raining, and water leaking onto electrical points.
What to do if you suspect an electrical fault?
At least two RCDs must be fitted before selling a home, in all properties constructed after 2000 and in all rental properties. These devices cut the electricity supply instantly an electrical fault is detected. As a tenant, if you notice that two RCDs have not been installed, you should write to your property manager and keep a copy of the letter. If this is still not done, you can contact Building and Energy (formerly EnergySafety), which may assist. Each RCD should be tested every three months, and can be done so as shown in this video: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/testing-rcds
Electric shocks, tingles from metal fixtures or unexplained dimming or brightening of lights should be reported immediately to the network operator and your property manager to avoid a serious electrical hazard.
If you smell gas it’s not normal and you should contact WA’s gas distributor ATCO or your gas supplier. Follow instructions to make the situation safe, which may include turning off the gas supply, not smoking or operating electrical appliances, lights or mobile phone and potentially evacuating. Only a licensed professional should fix a gas leak.
Who to call
- Report all electrical hazards to your network operator, either Western Power on 13 13 51 (24 hours) or Horizon Power on 13 23 51 (24 hours)
- Report gas leaks to ATCO Gas Faults and Emergencies on 13 13 52 (24 hours) or if you need an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 (24 hours)
- Building and Energy (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Freecall 1800 678 198 (24 hours)
- Consumer Protection – 1300 30 40 54 (business hours)
It is everyone’s responsibility to keep safe – tenants, the property manager and the owner. If issues are not rectified, contact Consumer Protection for advice. Information on WA’s residential tenancy laws is at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/renting.
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