Electric bikes and scooters in flats?

Electric bikes and scooters in flats?

0:03 AM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago 9

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Hello, I rent out several 2-bed flats and I’m concerned about the increased fire risk when these devices are recharged in the hallway which is the escape route.

What is the best solution? Should I include a disclaimer in the contract or should I give advice and just say no to recharging in the flat?

All opinions are welcome,

Charles

Editor’s note: You can check out Property118’s investigation on e-bikes and e-scooters which looks at the dangers these machines pose in properties, with advice to landlords and tenants on how to store them safely here


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RoseD

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13:01 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

And how would you police if you said no recharging. Same with disclaimer. It's similar with smoking. You politely state no smoking....but some tenants completely ignore that request which is just as much as a fire risk as rechargeable battery appliances.

Judith Wordsworth

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13:07 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

Draft a formal notice to your tenants that E-scooters and e-bikes cannot and must not be charged in the property.
Cite will invalidate not only their contents insurance policy but also the block's buildings insurance policy.
Difficult to police but "they have been warned" that should their charging of such vehicles be found to be the cause of a fire/destruction of the flat/block they will be held personally liable.

https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/E-bikes-and-e-scooters-fire-safety-guidance

Freda Blogs

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14:08 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

Tessa Shepperson of Landlord Law recently circulated a helpful article on this.

She sometimes responds in Property 118 so may copy it here if she sees the post.

Old Mrs Landlord

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14:28 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

If bikes are being charged in the communal hallway of blocks does not that mean that they are being charged at the expense of landlords who presumably pay for electricity supplied to the communal areas via the management charge? In other words you are paying for the privilege of your property risking being damaged or destroyed with subsequent loss of rental income.

Tessa Shepperson

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14:53 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

Hi, Tessa here. This is the article referred to by Freda: https://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2023/07/30/landlord-warning-your-tenants-e-bike-batteries-can-cause-serious-fires/
Battery explosions and fires are a real problem and they can be uncontrollable.
If you want to prohibit e-bikes and e-scooters this will have to be done in the tenancy agreement. We now have this in the Landlord Law tenancy agreements along with a letter members can use granting permission which sets out the various safety rules they should follow (these rules can be found in the blog article).

Or, if you use 'house rules', you can put these safety rules there - although to be enforceable, again, tenants should agree to them at the time of signing their tenancy agreement so they become part of the contract.
Make sure you check your insurance to see whether you are covered for this. Your insurers may have guidance they will want you to follow.
This is another reason why property inspections are so important - you will be able to find out if your tenants have these vehicles, and if so will be able to speak to them about safety. Presumably, the tenants will not want to be injured in a battery explosion or have all their possessions burned, so hopefully, they will comply.
If you feel awkward about doing inspections (and many landlords do), our Property Inspection Kit https://landlordlaw.co.uk/sales-property-inspection-kit/ will help.

Rob Crawford

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15:56 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

I've just updated my AST template that now states the charging of electric vehicles (cars, bikes, scooters etc) is not permitted in the property. Also, the bills inclusive calculation does not include the cost of charging these vehicles. I also state this in my adverts. Regular inspections are a must, including unannounced inspections of shared areas (only applicable to HMO's rented on a room basis).

Old Mrs Landlord

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16:57 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

If bikes are being charged in the communal hallway of blocks does not that mean they are being charged at the expense of landlords who presumably pay for electricity supplied to the communal areas via the management charge? In other words you are paying for the privilege of your property risking being damaged or destroyed, with subsequent loss of rental income.

Mr. C

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20:04 PM, 3rd August 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 03/08/2023 - 13:07
Interesting so what would you do if they had an electric car being charged from the property in the correct manner and it caught fire and the house also caught fire? I think it would be hard to put such a clause in tenancy agreement whether the charging in done inside the house or directly outside. It's the battery manufacturers standard that's at fault not the tenant. After all the tenant is only trying to do what's best for the environment by being "green"!

Judith Wordsworth

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11:39 AM, 5th August 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mr. C at 03/08/2023 - 20:04Thankfully none of my rentals could be used to charge a car as too far from the on street parking to use a cable even if you’re lucky enough to get a space outside.

Not sure electric cars are “green” as getting the lithium out of the ground certainly isn’t green and causes many deaths. Batteries last around 7 years and disposal, I believe, is in landfill and cost of replacement not cheap.

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