Not sure why it cut me off, but here’s the full post:
So I’m a relatively new landlord, and I have a property with a basement I consider to be somewhat hazardous (more like a really large crawl space). To protect my own liability, I’ve locked the basement with a keypad you can change the password on, so I could provide a code and reset it next time I go there. The breakers, furnace and other things are down there that they may need to access. The power went out a few times on the block recently and they’re asking for the code “just in case”.
If you were in my shoes, how would you handle this situation different?
Here’s what I put in the lease about it.
BASEMENT: The basement of the home will be locked for the duration of the lease. If there is an emergency that requires access to the basement, a lock combination will be provided for urgent access. After combination is provided, landlord will need access to the property to reset the combination.
I think that makes good sense.
@Joe Edmonds I think the lock idea is fine but if I couldn't trust them to have access to the breaker panel I probably would't rent them the house.
I know a management company that added language to the lease that says the tenant is not renting the basement. To cover them on dangers & also tenants complaints if there is a leak, etc.
Thanks Bob. I definitely trust these tenants as much as any. This policy was one I planned out before I had tenants. I’m just starting to feel like this policy isn’t necessary, or maybe there’s a more creative way to handle it.
You may want to review with your attorney and/or check the rules in your locality as it could be a code violation for a resident not to have access to the electrical panel.
As a matter of policy, tenant access to the basements is excluded in all my properties, and is locked by a combination lock. I would not give this combination out to tenants.
If tenants are tripping the breaker, I would like to know why and how it's happening. If it's a circuitry issue, I need to know. If the tenants are overloading some circuits, I need to know that, too. It causes me a few extra trips a year to reset a breaker, but I have to believe it makes the tenants more prudent about overloading if they know they have to call me to get it reset.
Other than resetting the breaker, I can see no other good reason a landlord would allow tenants access to the basement mechanicals. Seems like a potential for liability ("hey, I think saw asbestos/mold/rat infestation in your basement!") or some other hazard (e.g. trip) as the OP implied.
One of my tenants has access to the basement through her apartment unit . I don’t mind this arrangement because it’s a triplex and has three hot water tanks and three furnaces also the sump pump and the electric panels . I have smoke detectors there too . I’d prefer to have someone having access to that area to allow service workers to come if need be also if there’s a problem ( fire ,water ,smoke,leak ,flooding ) I want someone there to warn me . I manage from an hour away so having someone that’s available and able to spot hazards gives me peace in this regard . Also this is an older lady that oversees the property best and has been there the longest .