Electrical fires are among the most deadly fires faced by U.S. residents. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), they account for more than 51,000 fires each year and nearly 500 deaths, not to mention well over a thousand injuries. And in real dollars and cents, electrical fires cause a whopping $1.3 billion in property damages each year.
Those are sobering statistics for any homeowner, and even more sobering for landlords, whose responsibility for personal safety accounts for more than their immediate families. Your tenants rely on you to keep your buildings’ electrical systems safe, up-to-date, and well-maintained, and the law doesn’t just depend on your attention to the matter — it demands it!
In the state of Nevada, landlords are required by law (see section NRS 118A 290) to ensure the safety and habitability of a dwelling unit by making sure that electrical lighting, outlets, wiring and electrical equipment conform to the law when installed and be maintained in good working order.
Even if an electrical problem doesn’t lead to a fire or injury, a dwelling is considered uninhabitable without it since it’s required for basic human needs like light and heat. Electricity is also needed to ensure that smoke alarms (also required by law) are maintained in good working order. As a landlord, it’s your legal responsibility, therefore to keep the electrical system in any unit you’re renting out in proper working order.
Minimizing Your Liability
When it comes to ensuring the safety of the electrical system in your apartment house or building, there are several steps you can and should take to ensure that you’re always acting in compliance with state law. For starters, you should
- Always use a licensed, insured electrician for all electrical work and inspections.
- Schedule regular inspections of the electrical system in your building which should include the inspection of electrical appliances as well.
- Schedule inspections between tenancies, as part of preparing a unit for new occupants.
Electrical Work Should Never Be Part of DIY Maintenance
As a landlord, you’ve got plenty of maintenance and repair work on your plate, and it’s understandable that you’d prefer to save some money and do as much of it as possible by yourself or with the help of family and friends. If you’ve been a landlord for any length of time, you’ve probably become pretty handy at performing basic repairs, painting, replacing doors, carpentry tasks, and more. However, if repairs or installation of an appliance involves electrical work and it’s done improperly, you could be looking at more than just a tenant complaint. It could result in electrical shock or an electrical fire. That’s why electrical work is the exception to the landlord “DIY and save” rule. You may know the basics of electrical work, but failing to use a licensed electrician can set you up for legal trouble, and even put you at risk of losing coverage under your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Hiring a Qualified Electrician
When looking to hire a licensed electrician, there are a few criteria you should demand of the person or company whose services you ultimately decide to use. Here’s what to ask before you hire anyone …
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you provide around the clock emergency service 7 days a week?
- Are you a full-service electrician (i.e., who does both repair work and installations)?
- Are your rates reasonable?
- Do you guarantee the quality of your work?
In the Southern Nevada area, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Green Valley, Boulder City, and surrounding areas, Penny Electric is the licensed electrician service provider that can answer a definitive “yes” to all of the questions listed above. Contact us today for a free service quote.