Home Suite Home: Gas and electrical safety in rental properties

Every day Technical Safety BC receives reports of hazards from people across BC. Many of these individuals are renters who are concerned that their suites or buildings have unsafe electrical or gas equipment.

Under the Safety Standards Act, owners of a strata property, non-strata duplex, and those operating a business from their home, must hire a licensed contractor to perform regulated work. Some of this work requires permits and some does not.

What work cannot be done by a landlord or property manager?

The following work must be done by a qualified individual with the appropriate certification and license from Technical Safety BC. Permits are also required for these types of work, though it varies who will issue them (See our Jurisdiction page for full details).

  • Replacing light fixture or ceiling fans.
  • Installing or moving light switches or electrical outlets.
  • Installing electrical wiring for renovations.
  • Connecting permanently-installed electrical equipment such as a dishwasher, over-hood microwave, security camera, or heat pump.
  • Installing, replacing, or servicing gas equipment or appliances such as a boiler, stove, or cooktop.
  • Installing or replacing gas piping or tubing systems.
  • Installing or replacing gas appliance venting.

Signs that your rental property may be unsafe:
 

  • Breakers that repeatedly trip – indicating potential of a serious electrical issue which could result in fire.
  • Electrical outlets with exposed wiring or missing cover plates.
  • Receptacles that are loose or worn, or that feel warm or hot to the touch.
  • Insufficient electrical outlets creating the need to rely heavily on extension cords.
  • A carbon monoxide detector that frequently sounds.  

What to do if you suspect your suite or building is unsafe?

The safety of a building is the responsibility of the owner, and completing safe work is the responsibility of the contractor and the certified individual doing the work. Technical Safety BC uses a variety of means to determine which sites should be inspected for hazards and if unsafe work is found, Technical Safety BC has a number of means to ensure compliance. If you suspect a hazard or have been involved in an incident involving regulated equipment, please report it via our online webform or call 1 866 566 7233. Technical Safety BC protects the identity of persons who report or may be involved with incidents or hazards.

Is your suite CO safe?
Carbon monoxide detectors are currently only required in new construction (except in Vancouver which has its own requirements), but we recommend that all tenants have one in place. If your landlord will not install one, there are battery-operated and plug-in varieties suitable for renters.
 

Because of the risk of carbon monoxide exposure from gas-fired appliances, it is very important that building owners have gas appliances or equipment serviced as recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions or, at a minimum, annually by a licensed gas contractor. In fact, Section 55 of the Gas Safety Regulation requires owners of rental premises to ensure all gas appliances are maintained in a safe condition by a licensed gas contractor, and retain all gas appliance maintenance and service records.

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