Renting and Residual Current Devices

TheBusDriver 14 September 2014 7

I rent a property in NSW. My land lord has not fitted a Residual Current Device to the power board. I have read lots of information online about how they are compulsory in work places, how they are compulsory under the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Residual Current Devices) Regulations 2011 and the Wiring Rules (AS/ANZ 3000) . I have read terms like them being mandatory since either 2007 or 2011. So how do I force my land lord to install one? Yes, I’m already taking him to the tenancy tribunal but he is an uncooperative sod and has made a lot of excuses for not attending. I am honestly thinking of just moving as I already have a few nicer places in mind. Who can I report this unsafe electrical fuse connection to in the mean time?

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7 Responses to Renting and Residual Current Devices
wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 5:47 am 18 Sep 14

It is correct that nobody has to replace fuses with RCDs until electrical work is done on the premises. An upgrade to the entire meterpanel to retrofit these will probably be around $400 minimum at a guess, considering the price of an individual RCD circuit breaker is $40 and upward [they are required for light and power circuits only]. The other circuits will require breakers at around $16 each and a main switch probably about the same. The PVC enclosure finishes the parts list and then the electrician’s hourly rate to rewire everything completes the process. It is easy to say “pay for it yourself”, but at several hundreds of dollars you are spending on a house that isn’t yours it can seem a waste of money. I think individual RCD plug in devices would be better suited in this situation, though you will need quite a few. That being said, almost all appliances these days are double insulated so the risk of shock is limited to only a device breaking apart and exposing live wires, or immersion in water. Perhaps bathrooms and outdoor outlets only?

poppy poppy 6:42 pm 17 Sep 14

Unless you have some evidence as to these devices being compulsory in existing rental properties, or you feel that there is some special reason why the property is unsafe without them, I am baffled as to why you feel hard done by that your landlord will not install one.

If you felt you or your loved one’s life is at significant risk without this device , then why wouldn’t you install one at your own cost right away, and worry about who pays for it later? Or are you asking for this device because you are apparently angry at your landlord for some other reason?

Landlords already have various imposts, depending on the state, which includes such things as paying $100 odd dollars a year for someone to go out and push the test button on the smoke alarm and change the battery, because god forbid a tenant should be expected to be able to do this nor should they be expected to spend $2 on some batteries to keep their family safe. I have never had a tenant ask about this RCD device and the next tenant your landlord has won’t give a toss and certainly won’t pay extra rent because of it. Landlords can’t pay for every improvement a tenant asks for. Perhaps you should ask for an air conditioner or a pool, or a dog door or curtains instead of blinds, or some other thing that wasn’t there when you agreed to rent the property, and expect to get it without paying extra rent?

I suggest you do as you suggested and move. Your landlord will be grateful for getting rid of an annoying tenant. I assume you will be calling real estate agents and insisting on only viewing properties that have this RCD device and be happy to pay extra rent for the security and safety this device provides.

watto23 watto23 3:59 pm 17 Sep 14

There are many many things that only become compulsory when they are touched or in new premises. I had some electrical work done in the kitchen, which because of that work meant a cutoff switch for the hotplate was required by law, for safety reasons. But until the electrician did anything legally it was not required. I understand why they do the laws like this, but i find it interesting all these things deemed required for safety, however only for a new house, or work is being done.

JC JC 10:39 am 17 Sep 14

In NSW they are only mandatory in business premises, new homes built after a certain date (years ago now) and where renovations take place. Oh BTW a rental property is NOT a business premises.

Best option as others have said is to maybe ask the owner to install them, have you even done this or did you just go straight to the tribunal?

Morgan Morgan 11:38 pm 16 Sep 14

RCD is only required when installing new circuits or in houses built after 1994. There is no requirement to retrofit in the ACT. If you are concerned then you could pay to have all your appliances tested and tagged. If a workplace does not have an RCD then they have to test and tag their appliances.

Leon Leon 11:12 pm 15 Sep 14

I suggest that you get legal advice on residual current device (RCD) regulations, before you go to the tenancy tribunal.

I suspect that the owner isn’t required to install a RCD unless he undertakes a major renovation. If I’m right, then you are wasting your time trying to force the landlord to install a RCD. If I’m wrong, you may as well include this in your case to the tenancy tribunal.

The owner may be prepared to install a RCD if you offer to share the cost.

Failing that, I believe that you can buy a power board with a built-in RCD. That will provide greater safety when you are using portable electric equipment, and you can take it with you when you leave.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:21 am 15 Sep 14

If you’re unhappy you could always buy your own home. Or fit one yourself. Or not bother.

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