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RCD / Safety Switch Requirements for QLD Rental Properties

Sarah Allen


Residual Current Devices (RCD’s) are commonly referred to as Safety Switches in a residential environment.

Safety Switches have been promoted for decades as live saving devices that should be installed in all homes. They can, and will save a life in the event of an incident; but what are your legal obligations with regards to Safety Switches as a landlord in QLD?

Safety switches are mandatory for all new or extended homes built after 2000. If you are completing renovations on a premise built before 2000, you need to have a qualified and licensed electrician install Safety Switches on all electrical circuits to comply with regulations.

Should you buy a property without a safety switch, you must within a period of 3 months, have Safety Switches installed on all circuits by a qualified and licenced electrician.

Finally, as a landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure Safety Switches are present on all circuits within 6 months of a tenant signing a tenancy agreement.

What about the ongoing testing of these Safety Switches? How can you ensure they will “trip” in the event of an incident? There is a myth doing the rounds in QLD, and let me assure you there is no truth at all to this myth, that 3 monthly testing of Safety Switches is required in QLD rental properties. In fact, the QLD government only recommend that Safety Switches are tested regularly – there is no specified time frame provided. Don’t believe me? Check out the FAQ’s from Worksafe QLD who very succinctly outline your obligations .. Worksafe Residential RCD Requirements

When you take in to account that the regulations for testing RCD’s in the majority of office based workplaces in QLD, state RCD’s are to be tested using the in-build test button (by a staff member should they wish) on a 6 monthly basis and then “trip time” tested by a competent and trained technician or electrician every two years, it does appear 3 monthly testing of the same devices in rental properties, currently being promoted as law by unscrupulous operators, to be a tad ambitious.

Our recommendation? Add the inspection and testing of your Safety Switch to your smoke detector inspections (within 30 days prior to tenancy change or renewal). That way you are confident the Safety Switch will trip in the event of an incident and your tenants will appreciate not having to reset their clocks 4 times a year!

Any questions, feel free to give us a call!