Tenant wants to add an additional 220 outlet?

25 Replies

Hey BP, Rookie landlord question for you all. I just signed a new lease with my first tenant! However less than a month later the tenant is asking me if he can hire a electrician to install a new additional 220 outlet so that he can install a coffee bean roaster (he wants to open up his own coffee shop in a few years and is trying to build up some capital by selling his own roasted beans). Right away I'm thinking this isn't a good idea because the current electric work was done before I purchased the duplex two years ago and I don't know who the previous landlord had do it. I also don't know if it would disturb the other tenant. I let my partners know what was going on to keep them in the loop and they think I should let him do it. My partners are not landlords and never have been. So I figured I should ask the experts Should I let the tenant hire an electrician to add an additional outlet? Should I get quotes from a few licensed electricians and hire them to do it and send the tenant the bill?

I wouldn’t want someone running an extra oven wired up by a bottom dollar electrician (if lucky) to facilitate a business operation out of my rental.

Is this a commercial property?  If not, your insurance probably doesn't cover someone running a business out of your property.  And this isn't a CPA doing taxes at his kitchen table, this is some guy wanting to install commercial roasting equipment!  I would say no way. 

If you have it installed I would hire a reputable professional that you choose and send the quote/bill to the tenant. 

@Derek E. If I were to consider id also take the approach of saying I choose the electrician

Nope. No business running out of residences not meant for commercial activity. Start allowing commercial activity and you end up on a road you probably didn't want to be on - customers visiting the property; activities that aren't compatible with residential homes going on inside; harder use of your property; ETC. 

It's pretty easy, really - tell him to find a co-op kitchen and roast his beans there if he wants to do something like that. 

Just have tenant cut the plug off the roasting machine,peel back the insulation from the cord and strip both wires. then when he wants to use machine, he could stick the wires in the oven, or dryer receptacle. This would save him money from hiring an electrician. You do have insurance, right?

Thank You landlords for the advice!  You just confirmed what I was thinking

Where does he want to run the coffee roaster? I would probably only allow it in a garage. A coffee roaster will need its own ventilation, and should typically not be done inside, especially if it is a commercial machine.

Originally posted by @Kaleb Carsten :
Hey BP, Rookie landlord question for you all.

I just signed a new lease with my first tenant! However less than a month later the tenant is asking me if he can hire a electrician to install a new additional 220 outlet so that he can install a coffee bean roaster (he wants to open up his own coffee shop in a few years and is trying to build up some capital by selling his own roasted beans).

Right away I'm thinking this isn't a good idea because the current electric work was done before I purchased the duplex two years ago and I don't know who the previous landlord had do it. I also don't know if it would disturb the other tenant.

I let my partners know what was going on to keep them in the loop and they think I should let him do it. My partners are not landlords and never have been. So I figured I should ask the experts Should I let the tenant hire an electrician to add an additional outlet? Should I get quotes from a few licensed electricians and hire them to do it and send the tenant the bill?

 Congrats on the 1st tenant.

As for the request i'd say no. Sounds like he's trying to run a commercial operation or at least some commercial equipment out of the kitchen. Odds are good it wouldn't even be as simple as installing a new outlet. The property may need new service from the pole as well. Likely zoning issues going on as well. Case & point I would say no.

James Wise, Real Estate Agent in OH (#2015001161)
216-661-6633

@Kaleb Carsten he is running a business out of your rental property which is very likely a violation of your insurance. Ask your insurance agent if this is allowable. Now that you know about it, if something happened (fire) the insurance may have cause not to cover you. 

If you do proceed, hire a licensed electrician yourself and make sure the work is permitted if required. Do not let the tenant contract work on your property. Get model number on the machine and check the installation guide to make sure it is properly installed for things like venting and clearance around when operating. 

One other thing to consider is that if you sell food made in your home, you need your home inspected to commercial kitchen standards. I don't know if coffee bean roasting falls under this category, but it would be good to call the city and ask.

Congrats on your first property. What part of town is it in?

@Joe Splitrock This property is in Mitchell SD almost in the heart on the city.  I hadn't considered the food grade inspections that is a very good point that.   I'll be letting the tenant know this afternoon that we will not be able to allow the business in the unit.

Originally posted by @Kaleb Carsten :
Hey BP, Rookie landlord question for you all.

I just signed a new lease with my first tenant! However less than a month later the tenant is asking me if he can hire a electrician to install a new additional 220 outlet so that he can install a coffee bean roaster (he wants to open up his own coffee shop in a few years and is trying to build up some capital by selling his own roasted beans).

Right away I'm thinking this isn't a good idea because the current electric work was done before I purchased the duplex two years ago and I don't know who the previous landlord had do it. I also don't know if it would disturb the other tenant.

I let my partners know what was going on to keep them in the loop and they think I should let him do it. My partners are not landlords and never have been. So I figured I should ask the experts Should I let the tenant hire an electrician to add an additional outlet? Should I get quotes from a few licensed electricians and hire them to do it and send the tenant the bill?

This may not be a big deal.  Small roasters are meant for indoor use.  Do not make any promises but get some info from your tenant.  What is the make and model of the roaster.  Its important to know if it is a US unit or EU/Asia. Look in your electrical box and determine if your wire is 14 or 12 gauge.   Come back with that info and I will help you do the math.    In a nut shell 14 gauge wire can support a 1600Watt roaster.  12 gauge wire can run up to a 2200Watt roaster.   Your tenant can then buy there own Step-up Transformer and safely run there roaster without you having to change any wires or run new cables.  Knowing if the Unit was designed for US 220v or EU/Asia220v will determin which step-up transformers are compable. 

IN addition to telling him no if he does not inform you that he intends to move you must do monthly inspections to insure he is not working around you anyway. If he wants to operate a business he will not let any landlord stop him.

You have a very serious potential problem if he does not move. I strongly advise you inform him you will allow him out of his lease and you will want to hope he accepts the offer and moves.

This will come down to your business or his, one will be forced to give and I guarantee it will not be his.

@carroll Lee this is the one he was looking at.

https://www.coffeecrafters.com/product/the-artisan-3-e-roasting-bean-cooling-system/

Originally posted by @Kevin Manz :
Just have tenant cut the plug off the roasting machine,peel back the insulation from the cord and strip both wires. then when he wants to use machine, he could stick the wires in the oven, or dryer receptacle. This would save him money from hiring an electrician. You do have insurance, right?

 i was about halfway through this one before I realized it was a joke. thank you good sir for the laugh

@Kaleb Carsten That's a non standard outlet (usually used in Europe). I wouldn't do it if it's residential. Commercial could be a different issue. Good luck! 

No way, for every reason stated above Plus roasting coffee makes a very bitter acrid smell that will disturb your other tenant. Thomas S. has it right, this guy will probably do it anyway so be very firm and maybe get him to initial the portion of your lease that states no commercial activity (I hope it's in there)

Very rarely a good idea to let a tenant run ANY kind of business out of your SFR.....too many risks, and practically zero upside for you. If they want to run a business, do it at a commercial property....end of story.

Name one upside for you?...... you say YES and the tenant stays.....

The downside list is pretty much longer.....

And I would plan on doing VERY frequent inspections..... would not be shocked if the tenant did it anyway...

That roaster requires ducting to the outside which means a hole in your wall-same size as a dryer vent. I roast my own beans every week; I do it outside and we have no neighbors. If we lived in town we would get complaints for sure.

A positive note, if you decide to keep the tenant you won't have to go inside to inspect-just look for a new vent, and your neighbors will let you know as well. ;<)

Ummm...

Have you considered that just MAYBE he won't be roasting coffee at all, but perhaps doing some "gardening/growing"? 

Just say NO! (for any/all of the reasons already stated above by experienced pros.)

And make sure to inspect this unit at least monthly for the first 3 or 4 months. 

On the bright side, I do give the guy some credit--at least he asked you about it.  Usually they take the attitude it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Good luck!

Marc Winter, Real Estate Agent

Happened to me as well.  She has an electric dryer.  I just had my electrician do it right near the panel  box.  Never let a tenant touch the electricity or hire their own contractors.  

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