Signs of faulty electrical wiring - Rental Property Maintenance

It's important to know the warning signs of defective electrical systems in your rental - here are some things to look for.



There are a few telltale signs that you may have some bad wiring at your property. If you or your tenants hear, see, or smell any of these indicators your electrical infrastructure needs to be inspected.


Electrical fires can be very dangerous - not to mention, you need consistent electricity to power many components of the home (which you are legally obligated to provide based on landlord/tenant laws and the lease with your tenants). Not only should tenants be encouraged to report any issues with the property, electrical systems should also be inspected regularly (we suggest a couple of times a year).


Warm electrical wall outlets


If a wall outlet is warm to the touch this is a sign of faulty wiring and should be addressed immediately. Another indicator is if the outlet is vibrating - call an electrician!


Frequent circuit breaker trips


Circuit breakers' reason for existence is to provide a safety net for the electrical systems of a property. When an electrical system is overloaded, the circuit breaker will shut off the power. This happens occasionally and is normal here and there. But when the breaker trips too often (once a month or more) it’s a sign something is off. Either there is too much electrical load or you may have faulty wiring. This is another reason to call an electrician (you may see a theme here!).


Abnormal noises or lighting issues


If you hear any clicking or flickering noises coming from lights or outlets, this is another sign something may be wrong. Buzzing is another noise to look out for. If you notice lightbulbs dying quickly or dimming, this should be addressed by an electrician.


Signs of scorching and/or smoke


Probably the most obvious of wiring woes. If you or a tenant sees or smells smoke or odd odors coming from an electrical outlet, be ready to call 911 in case of a fire. If there are signs that heat has caused a stain or discoloration around an outlet, this could mean the wiring is faulty and is producing heat (and hence a big fire hazard). If left unchecked major damage could ensue.


It’s important to be diligent about the state of a property’s electrical infrastructure. We advise not to take the inexpensive route when doing electrical work, especially the more complex work requiring a permit. Hire an electrician and invest in your property.