Navigating Electrical Issues in Rental Properties

Power is one of the essential utilities in any home. Depending on the rental arrangement, who foots the electric bill might fall to either the landlord or tenant. Either way, the property owner is still responsible for fixing electrical fail issues, except when due to tenant damage. 

However, not all problems are as straightforward as replacing the bulb in your living room. On the contrary, navigating electrical issues in rental properties requires knowledge and caution. After all, messing with a wire when you’re not sure what you’re doing can get you electrocuted. If you want to avoid such a scenario, your property manager can schedule electrical repairs

Join us as we take you through this concise but thorough guide on electrical issues, how to handle them, why you should work with licensed electricians, and more.

Common Electrical Issues 

  • Electrical Surges or Dips: Electrical surges or dips refer to lapses where the power significantly increases or decreases. Often, this occurrence is due to a faulty appliance. However, you might also notice it during lightning strikes. If none of these scenarios seem plausible to you, you might have a wiring problem.
  • Faulty Lighting: Faulty lighting is a broad spectrum of several problems. For instance, it could be that your bulbs burn out too quickly, or their intensity is too bright or dim. Either way, the reason might be because your wattage is too high or a poor circuit connection. Look for some some inspiration for hanging lights in your room.
  • Electrical Shocks: Have you ever felt zapped after touching a device? Although such experiences are usually mild, they can be pretty unpleasant. Nevertheless, before calling a professional, you can unplug the appliance at fault and test the outlet with a different one. If it produces the same results, you have an issue with your wiring.
  • High Electric Bill: If you feel your utility bill is excessive, you should consider swapping to more energy-efficient options. However, if you notice a drastic increment, the issue might be with a faulty appliance like a leaking water heater or a damaged circuit.

How to Handle Electrical Problems

  • Examine the problem: If your house isn’t the only one affected by an outage or a surge, it’s best to contact the utility company and wait. It’s more likely that the fault is from a general grid. However, if you’re the only house with a problem, you might check for common issues. Examine your circuit breaker to see if it tripped, or inspect your outlet for anything unusual. 
  • Evaluate the electrical load: Try switching off appliances to see if the problem is an overload. Larger appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and AC units are usually at fault. If unplugging devices doesn’t fix the issue, talk to a pro.
  • Call a licensed electrician: To minimize your risk, it’s best to contact a professional electrician. It would help if you avoided DIY projects that involve messing around with your wiring or circuit breaker box. Your property manager can schedule electrical repairs with a licensed company.

Emergency Electrical Issues

  • Circuit breaker fails to trip: The standard protocol for an electrical problem that could cause damage is for the power supply to cease. For instance, when there’s excess current or a power surge, the circuit could overload and go off. When that happens, we call it a circuit breaker trip. You might hear a buzzing sound from your breaker box when it fails to happen. That’s an immediate sign that the mechanism has failed, and you need to call a professional.
  • Overloaded Outlet: When an outlet draws too much power, it risks overloading. If the circuit breaker tripping system is faulty, you might see sparks or smell burning wire. Another sign is when the outlet turns black or brown. Fixing an overloaded outlet is one of the DIY repairs to avoid, as it might overheat or shock you.
  • Power Outage: Obviously, a power outage is when the electricity goes off for no reason. If your electric company didn’t schedule an outage, you should contact them to find out if there’s a problem. After that, you may call a licensed electrician.

Importance of Working with Licensed Electricians 

  • It improves your safety: When you’re not an expert, it’s easy to make costly mistakes that lead to severe injury. Electricity is quite dangerous to work with, and you should always consider your safety first. 
  • They can do a better job: No amount of YouTube tutorials or Wikihow articles will turn you into a licensed electrician. You might be able to fix some minor issues, but more complex projects require someone with years of experience. 
  • They have insurance: Another benefit of working with a licensed electrician is insurance. If something goes wrong, the insurance company will pay for the damage. On the other hand, you risk footing an expensive bill if you make a mistake.

Avoiding DIY Electrical Maintenance

Beyond changing a light bulb and a few minor electrical issues, it’s best to leave repairs to the experts. Here’s why:

  • You risk starting a fire: Working with wires is always a significant fire hazard. Such a disaster would be damaging to your rental property, but it could also endanger the lives of your tenants. Thus, it’s best to prioritize everyone’s safety. 
  • You could get electrocuted: While most electrical shocks are about as nasty as a wrist slap, some prove fatal. Especially when dealing with large appliances with significant voltage, if you want to avoid severe injury or death by electrocution, call an expert.
  • It could cost you more money: DIY repairs are usually cheaper, which makes them so tempting. However, a small mistake could result in much more significant issues with electrical maintenance. In that case, you’ll eventually have to call an electrician, except your bill would be much higher. 


When navigating electrical issues in rental properties, it’s always best to suspend DIY projects. After examining the problem, it’s always best to call an expert electrician right away, especially with emergency issues. Working with a licensed professional keeps you safe, curtails your risk, and ensures better work quality. 

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