View Full Version : Electrical issue & Homeowners Insurance

Jess Wetherhold
01-25-2008, 9:04 PM
So...I recently moved to San Diego and am renting for 2 years (that is all I plan to be here.) I have always owned my home so renting is kinda strange to me now. My issue is that I want to run 220 to my shop and the landlord agreed with that. I received a fantastic quote today (friend of a friend) who is a licensed electrician and works for one of the big companies out here. After the meeting was over and the nice electrician left, my landlord informs me that by not having a general contractor do the job he would be violating his homeowners ins (why did he not mention this prior to this meeting?)
Having owned homes I have never found this to be true but maybe it is some weird CA thing?
The reason that I question this is because the landlord keeps urging me to improve his home on my dime. He wanted me to have the electrician install a sub panel but that would only benefit him so I said NO.
So...do you think he is using the ins co as an excuse because he can't have what he wants or is this in case a CA thing?
Sorry for the long post.

Steven Wilson
01-25-2008, 9:23 PM
What is the law in California for having electrical work done? Since it's a rental unit there is a good chance that the work needs to be done by a licensed Electrician who will also need to pull the permits. I doubt that you need a General Contractor. You probably cannot do the work yourself.

Jess Wetherhold
01-25-2008, 9:27 PM
Don't know the law at the moment. I have the licensed electrician but he is not a general contractor. When I told him about the situation he said that he thought the landlord wants a total upgrade on my dime. I have never heard of an insurance company who wouldn't accept work from a licensed electrician.
I should mention that it is a single family home and not a complex.

Steven Wilson
01-25-2008, 11:03 PM
Jess, I doubt that an insurance company would want a General Contractor to do the work. The only requirement would be if the State or Local authority requires a General Contractor. Being that you're a renter, different rules apply. In my state I can pull permits and make electrical changes to my home if it's my residence. If I own a home that someone is renting or if I'm making changes to a house that I own but am not a resident of (for example doing a flip) then I have to hire a licensed electrician to do the work.

Jess Wetherhold
01-25-2008, 11:19 PM
Thanks Steve. I will have to make a call tomorrow and see what INS CO we are dealing with. I suppose that is the only way for me to know for sure what they require.
This isn't major work. They would be switching 2 breakers out for 220, using existing wiring (that can handle the load) and running a few feet of conduit on the floor of the garage. It is about a 2 hour job from what I have been hearing.
The breakers are dedicated to the garage so there would not be any risk to the home after the switch.

Drew Watson
01-25-2008, 11:55 PM
Hi Jess. I know that I live in Canada but my wife works in insurance and I work as a contractor. The only problem that I can see from an insurance stand point would be that the contractor would be properly insured. Here as a home owner i can do any work on my own home so long as proper permits are taken out and inspections are done. This way my homeowners insurance will cover the work. As a landlord I would be asking the same thing of my tenants as tenants insurance doies not cover major upgrades to the building, Only the contents. Your friend is an electrician so he should know all the regulations where you live and be able to advise you better than anyone else.

Randy Cohen
01-26-2008, 6:31 AM
i think its an issue because if the friend doing the work is injured while working your landlord doesn't want the liability. If there is a concern about how the work is done I think that a call to your building inspector would clarify that.

Rob Russell
01-26-2008, 7:59 AM
I would ask your landlord to see the insurance policy and where it says that the work needs to be done by a general contractor. Tell him that you want to see the policy language because you want to ensure that you comply with whatever requirements exist and the safest way to do that is to read the policy terms.

The only thing I could see the policy requiring would be something that requires that a contractor have all the forms of insurance that a GC would typically have - for example liability and workers comp. An electrician doing a job on the side may or may not have a standalone policy that provides such coverages for him/herself. Even then, the policy could only try to exclude damage arising from such work done by an uninsured contractor - and my guess is that could be tough to do. I work for an insurance company and we pay some pretty big claims for dumb things that people do.

David G Baker
01-26-2008, 9:14 AM
Get yourself a very heavy duty extension cord that will carry the load you need and run temporary power to the tools you need to power. The cord will cost big bucks and probably should be ground fault protected. A building contractor supply place should be able to sell you what you need.