Did you know that electrical safety compliance is an imperative aspect of a property settlement? Regardless of whether your property is in a metropolitan area or a rural/remote location, you have to ensure you are electrically compliant for settlement to seamlessly go through.

That is why in this article, we are discussing what you should know as a seller or buyer, particularly when it comes to RCDs and smoke alarms.

Firstly, what are RCDs? 

A circuit breaker AKA a Residual-Current Device (RCD) is an electrical safety device that automatically switches off all connected electrical components when a threat is detected.

What are smoke alarms? 

Everyone home in Western Australia is required to have fire-protection devices, AKA smoke alarms. These devices will  automatically detect the presence of smoke and raise a shrill alarm to alert residents that there may be a risk of fire.

What does WA legislation stipulate about smoke alarms and RCDs?

According to Electricity Regulations 1947 (WA), Western Australians are required to ensure their residential property is installed with at least two RCDs and hard-wired smoke alarms. This is to be ensured within the property prior to the completion of the property sale. If non-compliance has been identified, the seller may face hefty fines.

As a property buyer, it is imperative to check that the property is fitted with RCDs and mains-powered smoke alarms before settlement. If you do not know what you are looking for, or are unsure if the home you are interested in is compliant, we recommend arranging for a licensed electrical contractor to inspect the property. There is no obligation for the seller to provide evidence that an electrician has completed the works, the Western Australian law does offer recourse to new homeowners who make the unpleasant discovery after settlement that their home is non-compliant. This comes in the form of up to $5,000 in fines, payable by the seller.

What are some of your rights as a buyer?

As a buyer, you might be eligible to make a claim from the seller for the reasonable costs of complying with the electricity regulations within two months post-settlement, as part of a grace period. The seller may be liable to a fine of up to $15,000 for failing to comply with the regulations.

Similarly, if the property has not been fitted with hard-wired smoke alarms before settlement has gone through, the buyer may be entitled to recover the reasonable costs from the seller within a period of 12 months from settlement.

Compliance requirements of RCDS:


  • It is a requirement to have at least two RCDs installed on the main switchboard of the property at settlement.
  • It is a minimum requirement to have fixed RCDs installed in a fusebox. Please note that there are two other types of RCDs that do NOT meet compliance requirements:
    • Socket-outlet RCDs which replace standard socket-outlets.
    • Portable RCDs plugged into a standard socket-outlet when fixed and socket-outlet RCDs are not available.
  • Sellers and landlords are required to ensure that RCDs are installed in accordance with the electricity regulations to protect all power points and lighting circuits.
  • The WA government provides general information on what is required in homes for sale, homes for rent, the number of RCDs required, along with the frequency of testing.
  • However,  if the buyer intends to demolish the property within 6 months RCDs do not need to be installed in this circumstance. The course of action would be for the buyer to provide formal notice of intended demolition to the seller before settlement.

Smoke alarm compliance requirements:

  • Smoke alarms need to be installed on all applicable residential properties that are to be sold or rented out.
  • They must be less than 10 years old and hard-wired.
  • However, smoke alarms do not need to be installed if the buyer intends to demolish the property within 6 months.

If you have any enquiries, regardless of if you are a buyer or seller, we can help you out. Please contact CR Settlements today to discuss if the property in question is electrically compliant. It is our responsibility to ensure you have a smooth settlement and can advise you on the best steps forward. Contact us today.