Ungrounded outlet - tenant request

10 Replies

Hello BP community, 

Need some advice. 

Facts : outlets in house are mostly ungrounded two prong. One outlet has three prongs but also ungrounded. Location Florida. Tenants have renters insurance. 

Tenant says he plugged surge protector in the 3 prong outlet thinking it was grounded. Says there was a power surge that fried his computer and wants me to give him full replacement cost. It's a significant amount. In my 15 years of managing these couple rental properties I own I've never run into this situation. 

I tend to think that I'm not responsible. I think renters insurance should cover. But also wondering about the 3 prong outlet that's not grounded. I also want to do the right thing. 


Sorry, not your responsibility. Are you responsible for hail damage on their car when there is a storm too? Everyone wants someone else to pay for everything that happens to them as if there are no such things as accidents and there will always be someone there to pick them up when they trip and skin their knee. I would tell them tough poop. If they fought it, I would tell them to take me to court and prove that I knew it was an ungrounded outlet and I should be held responsible for anything that is ever plugged into the entire house. Pay it out once, guess what happens the next time?

Thanks for your post Bryan. But the reason I asked at all was because of three prong outlet issue. I think it's against the nec code to have ungrounded 3 prong outlets and I'm wondering if that applies. But I pretty much agree with you 

Maybe it should disclosed in the Lease or somewhere so any new tenants are abundantly clear that they’re not grounded. I know it’s probably obvious, but you know how it goes with tenants.
Can he prove that a grounded outlet would have made any difference? I had an entire network of computers fried by a lightning strike. It was on grounded outlets with surge protectors. The lightning surge came through the internet and network cable connections.

@victor n. Yes I agree. That was my question to the tenant. Why was the computer the only appliance affected. And how do I know if the surge even happened. I've been reading a bit and from what I've read computer getting fried in a surge is a pretty unlikely event. 

Even if the code says that you cannot have a 3 prong outlet in there if it isn't grounded, did you know it wasn't grounded before and ignored it? Can they prove that? Swap it to a 2 prong and call it a day

against code to have ungrounded 3 prong.

ive heard you can cheap fix the problem by replacing all receptacles to GFCI, but label "ungrounded"

but you should really get the place rewired. someone could get hurt