Rental property with very low power lines

7 Replies

Hello everyone,

I am looking to buy an investment property and found one that I am very interested in. Everything seems to check out, but when I walked out into the backyard, I noticed that there are power lines abnormally low (maybe 12-15 feet high) above the back fence. To put it into perspective, if I was holding a standard sized broom or rake, I could reach up and touch the power lines. Granted, it is above the fence and not in the middle of the yard, but my biggest concern is downed power lines after a storm or something of that nature. I want to avoid lawsuits at all costs. How much of a liability is this when it comes to rental properties? Should I just avoid this property altogether? Thanks in advance.

I don’t see how you could be liable for the utility services public service drop. That would be like their kid got hit by a car because the road doesn’t have a sidewalk. You don’t spec the road or the utility. As the end user you have no control over their lines or where they hang them.

With that said, we had our lines a bit low after a storm knock down and replacement. I mentioned it to a utility supervisor and they came out and raised them, no charge. 

Worst case, call the utility company and report the perceived danger. Document your call. If they don’t do anything, you covered your bases by making the effort. Once you’ve notified them, you’ve done all you can do. It is out of your control. 

In my city the law says 18'. I have no idea if that's universal, but if your standpipe is less than that it would be up to you to raise it.  I once had a passing semi take down the wires on a place I had recently bought.