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Tip#160: Who’s in Charge?

A tenant in San Francisco made the news this week by complaining that the landlord pulled the plug on his electric car.

Charging an electric car overnight is the easiest solution for drivers.  However, if that driver lives in a rental property, things get more complicated.  Who pays for the power?   Who is liable if a tenant is injured during charging, or if a battery or car get stolen? How do you keep strangers from pirating the power? What if more and more tenants want to charge their cars, too?

Some municipalities are requiring that new construction be equipped with car chargers, anticipating that these vehicles will gain in popularity.  There are few, if any,  similar requirements that landlords provide car charging stations in older buildings.

But it’s still a good idea to think about how you will  handle the situation if it comes up. For instance, what if the tenant lists an electric vehicle on the rental application?

At some point, you may have to decide whether to add chargers to your list of amenities, or whether you will prohibit car charging at your rental properties.

Advance notice of your policies on charging is your best bet for avoiding disputes down the road.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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