Tenant requesting for 220volt outlet upgrade

25 Replies

My tenant contacted me today asking if theres a way I can upgrade one of the outlets in the garage to a 220volt. My panel is 200amp. He wants to purchase welding equipment. I dont know how it would work as far as liability also. How should I go about his situation. They are good tenants and take care of the home and always pay on time. Also he said he would pay for the upgrade of the outlet as well. What type of documentation shall create to have him sign in regards to this as well as the use of welding equipment. Please advise. Thankyou

Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't allow a tenant to use a welder in a residential setting. Way too many liabilities. Way too easy to cause damage. Way too easy to burn your house down.

There are a few people i know that have welders in their garage, as a Landlord i would worry about its use as @Account Closed said, but it is an upgrade ( be it one that won't bring you extra money ) but he is willing to pay for the install. talk to your insurance Co. and see what they say, if there is an increase in the premium to protect you, go back to the tenant and tell them they will have to pay for the increase in the insurance as well. i would also put in your agreement that the right type of fire extinguisher MUST be installed right next to the machine and they have to sign and agree to that.

Not a good idea. Your lease should prohibit a home-based business. Your neighbors won't like the smell and noise and weird light show. Your main breaker box could overheat, the lights could flicker on the entire block. "Man dies while house burns down" is 6 o'clock news stuff. His heirs and their lawyers will be all over you. Did I mention this is not a good idea? Good luck.

Account Closed a little exaggerated don't you think ? but i understand you wanting to get your thought across and to the point. think you did your job :-) 

If it is a good tenant work with them. You pick the electrician, they pay the bill. Dig in deeper about the "why" he wants it, business or personal. I have had plenty of friends that have welders in their garage. I want one myself actually. I have never know anyone to burn down the house, not even close. If insurance can manage it, and it is a good tenant, why not? Don't buy into all the hype. Dig into the details yourself, plus you know the situation for your property, neighborhood, proximity to neighbors etc.

just an FYI, he may be welding already, you can use 110 machines, the 220 just gives him more power, so your not preventing the use of a welding machine, just the power. also this is not like a torch and is very controlled.

A lot of areas require home occupation approvals and industrial type uses are tough to get approvals on.  If you are considering allowing this improvement, I would suggest you also make him responsible for obtaining any zoning approvals and associated fees.

Say no to the upgrade and tell your tenant he is not permitted to use the garage as a work shop. No welders of any sort. This is a very dangerous situation to allow, I know as I have welding equipment in my garage work shop. I also have friends with garage workshops and they have had garage fires due to welding mishaps. In the wrong hands it is extremely dangerous.

If you allow it you need to contact your insurance company as they will need to know about the elevated risk of fire.

Make sure it's hobby use rather than home based business. 
Run it by your insurance agent. 
Pick the electrician. Tenant pays. 
Keep tenants happy and they will keep you happy. 

If you guys are worried about the miniscule chance the place burns down, you are in the wrong business. 

@Varinder Kumar The short answer is NO...why would you take on that liability??? If he wants to weld personally or professionally he can rent a facility elsewhere. I don't allow tenants to do work around or on my properties. 

I've installed my own 220 outlet and welding equipment in several houses back when I used to rent. There really isn't a big fire risk with the welder, but rather other tools associated with welding, like the oxyfuel torch. I wouldn't be concerned about the welder but ask that the tenant does NOT use any torch cutting equipment  anywhere near the property. 

Maybe in some areas it is unusual to set up workshops in a garage but I am use to seeing workshops attached to a garage or a garage converted to a workshop. My late husband and I were both with the local fire department and never once in 10 years was there a fire due to a welder, but we did respond to a lot of kitchen fires. I am sure that no one give that a second thought. If I would allow this I would:

1. Make sure that he is not operating a business illegally

2. proper insurance

3. installed properly

BTW 2 of my 3 sons have converted their garages to workshops. One in a rental and one in his own home. Yep no fires.

He said his using it for personal use. How do I go about persuading him not to do it. Its going to increase insurance costs, cost of installation and electricity etc?? 

Originally posted by @Varinder Kumar :

How do I go about persuading him not to do it.

Put some pants on and tell him "No".

Yes, welders are a huge fire and safety hazard. They make things into red hot MOLTEN STEEL! I say this as a pretty accomplished welder myself. I've always had a "workshop", but no, that's not something I would ever expect to be allowed to do in a rental unit garage. Yes, they do cause fires and injuries all the time, just because you haven't personally experienced that means nothing.

Sparks go flying when you weld, especially if you aren't good at it. Do you know how good your tenant's welding skills are? Is he going to chase down every spark and make sure it's out? Or is he going to get thirsty, and wonder in the house leaving a piece of red hot steel behind?

Even if there is no fire there is a very, very serious chance of very serious burns. Yes, things get hot in the kitchen, but that is not even remotely the same thing. It will also create a lingering burning metal smell in the garage...do you allow cigarette smoking in the garage? It's not much different.

Simply tell him no.  You don't have to persuade him; it's your property.

If you can't face doing that, tell him you've checked with your insurance company and they won't cover you if you do this.

Gail

Those that think its ok to run a welder out of a house have probably not witnessed when things go wrong. It happens in a split second and your intentions have nothing to do with it. 

My parents had a renter that requested a 220V outlet to run a welder, they agreed.

Short story. He is dead and my parent's house burned to the ground. My parents spent two years going to court though were not charged nor have to pay for damage to anyone but their own lives.

You can bet the insurance company was rouring for my parent to lose their case. It took the insurance company 30 months to pay up. A word to the wise.

Just to be clear - I wouldn't even weld in my own garage. I have a separate, industrial warehouse for such activities, where it can be done in the correct environment and without endangering a dwelling unit.

@Gail K. I told him that and asked if his using a torch as well. After that message he said if its too many hoops to jump through then it ok. Basically he wont go through with it.

Good; I know it's sometimes hard to say no to a good tenant who pays on time and keeps the rental property up but making someone else the

Oops; power loss.  Making someone else the bad guy helps to spread uncomfortable news at times.

Gail

Originally posted by @Varinder Kumar :

My tenant contacted me today asking if theres a way I can upgrade one of the outlets in the garage to a 220volt. My panel is 200amp. He wants to purchase welding equipment. I dont know how it would work as far as liability also. How should I go about his situation. They are good tenants and take care of the home and always pay on time. Also he said he would pay for the upgrade of the outlet as well. What type of documentation shall create to have him sign in regards to this as well as the use of welding equipment. Please advise. Thankyou

Nope.  I wouldn't allow it.

What is he welding in the house?  He should not be doing this in your rental house and it will probably increase your liability and not be covered under your insurance.

Originally posted by @Varinder Kumar :

He said his using it for personal use. How do I go about persuading him not to do it. Its going to increase insurance costs, cost of installation and electricity etc?? 

YOU are the boss.  If this is a tenant that you cannot control...you SHOULD NOT have him as a tenant.  He will be a continual problem if, in spite of you setting the rules, he continues to challenge them and do as he pleases.

@Jon S. Thanks for your reply. I already spoke to him and told him that i will have to jump through a lot of hoops to accommodate his request. So he said that its not important and to leave it. They are good tenants giving me a $500 cash flow so id like to keep them happy but I approached it in a way where it seems too difficult to get the job done. Thanks for your response!

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