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Finding an Electrician for Your Rental

Key Takeaways

  • Whether you’re considering installing a new ceiling fan or relocating an outlet at your rental property, avoid costly mistakes by doing it yourself and seek a trained electrician. Most electricians in the U.S. states and Canadian provinces require training and a license to work.  Master electricians may charge more hourly but will ensure the electrical in your home is safe.
  • If a quote is vague, have the electrician break down the costs so you can compare estimates when searching for an electrician.
  • If the circuit breaker trips frequently, poses fire hazard threats, or there is drywall debris from electrical work, the landlord must cover those expenses.

Published on Dec 5, 2023 | Updated on Dec 11, 2023

A person working on electrical wiring

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There are a variety of reasons why a property owner would need an electrician, whether it’s because the rental unit has a faulty fuse, a fixture needs to be rewired, or you want to add a new outlet. Discover how to find and interview a professional electrician and how to determine a good, detailed quote from a vague one in this guide.

Why hiring a licensed electrician is essential

Proper electrical installation is essential for keeping your home safe. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, an estimated 51,000 fires yearly are caused by faulty electrical wiring. To ensure electrical safety, learn how to manage current or future issues and hire a competent electrician.

How to find a qualified electrician

Virtually all electricians require a license to practice their trade in the U.S. and Canada. Licensing requirements vary from province to province in Canada, and each state in the U.S. has different qualifications that an electrician must meet. For an overview of licensing requirements for electrical repair in each Canadian province, visit the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA).

If you’re looking for a professional electrician, begin with a Google search for electricians in your area. Always read company and contractor reviews and confirm they are licensed with the state or province where your rental is based. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for information on how many years in business the licensed contractor has or if the company has any licensing information.  

Conducting electrical inspections at the rental properties

Before an electrician can provide you with an estimate, they should do an on-site inspection, which can cost between $100 and $200. Here are some reasons why an electrician may charge more for the initial inspection: 

  • You are working with a master electrician who charges more than journey-level experience.
  • The inspection is during peak holiday hours or is a weekend emergency.

An electrical inspection provides insight into the source of the problem and will ensure the wiring is safe in the home.

Reviewing quotes and cost of repairs

Your home’s functionality relies on electricity unless you’re using alternative energy. Many states in the U.S. mandate that homes are connected to an electricity grid. There are various reasons why you would need to hire a certified electrician.

Here are examples of standard electrical work you may need for your rental properties:

  • Electrical wiring
  • Installing light fixtures
  • Upgrading electrical panels
  • Installing a generator
  • Fixing malfunctioning light fixtures
  • Outlet and switch/socket installation
  • Smart home installation
  • Installing ceiling and attic fans
  • Replacing an electrical breaker

Electricians’ costs are based on your needs and the job’s complexity. For instance, if your home is over 40 years old or the electrical has deteriorated quickly, becoming a fire hazard, you may need an electrical rewiring. Depending on the square footage, rewiring a home can cost between $10,000 and $30,000.

Ask for a detailed estimate when you are interviewing independent contractors. The quotes should include labor costs, material costs, and a project breakdown. The electrician should also inform you of the project’s estimated start and end date.

Often, an electrician must cut through the drywall if they add a new outlet or run new electrical wire. This is a labor cost that should appear in the quote. Drywall damage is a separate repair cost that the landlord or a drywall contractor must repair. A drywall repair is an additional expense, typically outside the electrician’s scope.

If you are a homeowner also acting as a property manager, it’s your job to ensure your tenants are safe and live in habitable conditions. Consider all expenses before renting to guarantee that your rental income can cover repair costs.

When reviewing a quote, the rates will be defined differently depending on the scale of the project and what you come to an agreement on with the electrician. 

The quote should read like an itemized receipt, whether the electrician charges an hourly rate, a daily rate, or a project rate. A warranty is standard when you are purchasing electrical products.

Here is an example of a good quote and another quote that needs more description.

FAQ: Hiring an electrician

Check with your local or national home builders association for a journey-level electrician or master electrician. You can also search Google for contractors in your area. Once you locate an independent contractor or company, read reviews and verify that they are licensed.

After the electrician conducts an inspection, you can ask them if they have experience with the particular project needed, how long they anticipate the project’s completion will take, when they can get started, and if they can provide a detailed quote.

Hiring a professional is always best to ensure your tenants and home are safe. You would need an electrician for various reasons, including electrical wiring, relocation of outlets or panels, or the installation of light fixtures or new outlets.

Our final thoughts

If there’s something in question regarding your home’s electricity, always have your tenant notify you. Unless your tenant is a licensed electrician, ask them to refrain from adding outlets or doing more complex electrical repairs themselves. Ideally, you’ll want to interview electricians before your tenant moves into the rental in case an emergency arises during the weekends or holidays.

With a trustworthy tenant, you can know that your home is being cared for properly. Learn how to vet tenants with SingleKey’s Tenant Report, where you’ll get untampered results from income verification, credit reports, and background checks within minutes.

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