My tenant wants to install Kiln in garage?

9 Replies

My tenant has a masters degree in Art and enjoys creating ceramics. She wants to install a kiln in the garage of my 1970s rental house. My first concern was the wiring of the house isn't equipped but she assured me she would pay my electrician to install a sub panel in the garage and add a cement wall. I talked to my insurance lady, and she is going to get back to me on how/if this will impact my policy. On one hand I want to say no and not deal with any potential hazards, on the other hand, this tenant is willing to jump through hoops to get this done and shows her willingness to stay long term while making improvements to the house. The outlet that would be installed could also charge an electric car, so I'm considering that an improvement. Has anyone dealt with this same scenario? Or have an opinion/recommendation that I should consider? This is my 3rd year as a landlord, so those of you with more experience, what would you do in this case? 

Thank you in advance,

Amira 

I personally allow my tent to improve the house at their own expense and liability as long as it increases not decreases rentbility to future tenants. Will the installation of the kiln have any other affect on the garage that will have to be removed or change the long term usage. If anything had to be changed back I would a redeposit because people are never as interested to change it after as they are when installing

I would check with your insurance company. If you decide not to allow it you can always blame it on the insurance company raising your rates over it. Is it a fire hazard?

Thank you for your responses. The extra security deposit is a great idea. My insurance company recommends she get a renter's policy to lessen liability if something were to happen. But it is not going to effect my rate at all. The Kiln is essentially a really hot oven to make pottery, ceramics..etc. So the garage would need to be kept clean and ventilated when in use.  

I saw a kiln installed in the garage of an (owner occupied) house.  They put it in the corner, and put firebricks over the existing wall, a little taller than the kiln, and a little further along each wall than the kiln.  Depending on your local building code, you might be able to do something like sheet metal panels on the wall behind the kiln, instead of brick.  Either way, if the kiln is removed in the future, then you aren't out much space in the garage.

The kiln probably needs 240 V at 20 A or 30 A (same as an electric dryer).  A quick Google for some home chargers for electric cars seems to show that many of them want 50 A (same as an electric stove).  You might ask the electrician to either 1) install wires to support a 50 A outlet; it's then OK to install a smaller (fewer amps) breaker and outlet if needed, or 2) install conduit large enough to support wires for a 50 A outlet, then run just the size of wires needed today.  Then, somebody that wants to upgrade in the future can easily pull the existing wires out of the conduit, pull thicker wires into the conduit, and install a larger breaker and outlet.

The 240 V circuit in the garage may also be interesting for a future tenant that wants to run a welder or a big air compressor in the garage - somebody that likes to work on cars or build things at home.

From what I remember in art class, sometimes the kiln runs for several hours.  You might clarify with your tenant (lease addendum?) that you expect them to be home when the kiln is running, and check on it reasonably often.

I have had a kiln before. As long as it is cool with your insurance and your tenant pays for it, I would have no problem with it, particularly since it will improve your property value. Being me, I would probably hint around very heavily that I would like to be gifted an art piece!

Many different legal concerns; current extent of insurance coverage, zoning concerns, liability for harm, possible reimbursement in the future, etc. Consult a local, licensed attorney.

Thanks all for the advice and recommendations. Tenant will not be running it as a business. My insurance company said it will not effect my policy. I will definitely be adding a smoke detector to the garage, very good point!!