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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    4

    Default How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair a Downed Power Line

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Ohio

    Ohio.

    We had strong windstorms yesterday. My electricity went out at 1:00 and the power wasn't restored until 10:45 a.m. this morning--the longest I've been without power since I've lived here over 38 years.

    Meanwhile a mobile home (on 20+ acres) that I inherited from my late father, located about 15 miles from me, that I rent out, had a utility pole next to the mobile home that came down at about 9:30 p.m. last night. The tenant informed me this morning at 10:00 a.m. and that he & his family went to a hotel. (As a side note, he said they would have went to her parents house, about 30 miles away, but their electricity was also out).

    I immediately called an electrician who had worked on the property before, and left several messages. Then I drove out to see the property. Came back home and left another message, then called another electrician (kind of pricey), talked to AEP-Ohio, and called a third electrician they had suggested (left another message).

    The tenant is now talking about "deducting the cost of the hotel bills" from the next rental payment.

    Am I responsible?

    (Incidentally, the news reports say that thousands are still without electricity).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,668

    Default Re: How Quickly Must One Repair Damage from Wind

    Quote Quoting Winded
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    Am I responsible?
    No. Not a bit. You responded immediately and did the best that you could under the circumstances and that's all that the law expects you to do.

    If he deducts, you refuse the partial payment and you serve him the 3 day pay or quit notice for non-payment of rent. Understand that accepting the partial payment may constitute a waiver of the remaining amount due.

    Renters insurance might have covered the tenant's temporary lodging. If he wasn't smart enough to have it, that's his problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,817

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    This is a privately owned utility pole and power line, not one for which the power utility has any responsibility?

    The landlord is obligated to act within a reasonable amount of time to complete repairs. Absent some proof of serious neglect of the line that resulted in an outage that would not otherwise have occurred, despite the high winds, it's not realistic to expect a landlord to be able to respond to and effect a repair the same night if the problem doesn't even occur until 9:30 PM.

    If the landlord is responsible for this repair, the landlord has now had time to get quotes and needs to move on to the step of scheduling and completing repairs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    4

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    It's a pole that is next to the mobile home. The power line comes from the road.

    I accept that it is my responsibility, and not the power company's.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Pugetopolis
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    34

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    Where is the meter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    16,668

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    Quote Quoting Winded
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    It's a pole that is next to the mobile home. The power line comes from the road.

    I accept that it is my responsibility, and not the power company's.
    Then it's simple. You fix it as soon as is reasonably possible given the circumstances that you have to deal with. Weather, scarcity of electricians, any other obstacles that delay repair through no fault of your own does not make you liable for the tenant's lodging costs.

    It's only been about 24 hours. You went there right away. You've been working on arranging repairs. That's all you can do. You have no magic wand.

    By the way, if you can effect repairs quickly, even if pricey, you do it. That's the cost of being a landlord.

    I had a water heater go out at one my rentals years ago on a Sunday. You can imagine how much extra that cost me to have a plumber come out on an emergency call to replace the water heater. But I got it done. It's the kind of thing that you don't spend days getting bids on because that kind of delay does make you liable for the tenant's costs.

    Have you arranged for repairs yet?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    4

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    The meter is on the utility pole that came down, MartbyMark.

    The electricians are busy--the one whom I had used before called back 7:45 p.m. and told me he doesn't install the poles. He was chatty, and gave me the number of the fellow I had already called (who hasn't called back). Trouble is, I'm getting conflicting information from the tenant and from the electrician--tenant tells me if we installed a 4 x 4 pole, that would be fine if we installed it on out own. Electrician says if wouldn't be fine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,087

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    Quote Quoting Winded
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    Trouble is, I'm getting conflicting information from the tenant and from the electrician--tenant tells me if we installed a 4 x 4 pole, that would be fine if we installed it on out own. Electrician says if wouldn't be fine.
    And what expertise does your tenant have in these sorts of matters? If the tenant is not himself/herself a licensed contractor/electrician I'd have trouble putting much stock in the tenant's views. The easy availability of information on the internet seems to make a lot of people think they are experts on something after reading just a little on it, maybe just off a Wiki page. I see it here often — people who aren't lawyers and have no particular legal experience or expertise posting like they are experts based on what they think they know of the law and arguing with lawyers and others who do actually know the law. As the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Your tenant seems to be suffering from that. Somehow the tenant thinks he knows the rules for deducting from rent his rental costs when it is clear he doesn't, and now he seems to think he's an electrical expert and chances are he's not that either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
    Posts
    1,348

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    Quote Quoting Winded
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    The meter is on the utility pole that came down, MartbyMark.

    The electricians are busy--the one whom I had used before called back 7:45 p.m. and told me he doesn't install the poles. He was chatty, and gave me the number of the fellow I had already called (who hasn't called back). Trouble is, I'm getting conflicting information from the tenant and from the electrician--tenant tells me if we installed a 4 x 4 pole, that would be fine if we installed it on out own. Electrician says if wouldn't be fine.
    I am a Master Electrician, though not in your state.

    1st, your tenant is not correct. service drops on 4x4's are often used in temporary service's for construction and must be permitted as such. They, likely, would not be permitted in your jurisdiction for this application. A 4x4 doesn't have the same physical characteristics to withstand weather and wind as a pole does, nor does it have the height to meet the requires clearances in Art.110.

    You really need to find out who owns the pole and you really need an electrician either can install poles (most cannot) or has subcontractors that can. Pole installation requires some specialized heavy equipment. If it is the utilities pole then they are the ones who are responsible for it. This is really the crucial part of your problem.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Pugetopolis
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    34

    Default Re: How Quickly Must a Landlord Repair Damage from Wind

    Quote Quoting Winded
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    The meter is on the utility pole that came down
    Then typically the utility owns anything upstream of the meter.

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