To Ban or Not To Ban E-Bike Battery Storage

This year alone, there have been more than 30 fires all around New York City due to faulty e-bike batteries, leaving landlords & management companies unsure on how to mitigate the potential risk. NYC lawmakers, too, are concerned about the safety of tenants across the five boroughs, banning the sale of non-certified batteries to reduce the risk of fires. 

But even still, with a 20% increase in e-bike purchases over the past three years, landlords are left wondering how they can keep their tenants and apartment buildings safe. 

Here are a few tips & resources that we’ve found that could help you decide what’s right for you. 

Banning E-Bike Battery Storage

The most drastic yet effective method to avoid potentially fatal building fires is to ban the storage of e-bike batteries in the building. By posting a bulletin in your building’s lobby, issuing riders to your tenants in their lease renewals (or including the ban in the proprietary lease), or changing the house rules or bylaws, you can ban the storage of any e-bike batteries – and thus the charging of them – in your building. 

Of course, ensuring compliance is its own struggle, especially if you don’t live on the premises. If it’s a real concern, you can encourage your tenants to report noncompliance to you directly – or hire an outside management company if you have multiple units (which could be helpful for a myriad of other concerns). 

The con of an outright ban is discontent on the part of your tenants. If you have a bunch of tenants who own e-bikes and use them regularly (and purchase them legally), this would definitely cause a change in their lifestyle. So make sure you’re being mindful of your tenants while weighing whether a ban is right for you. 

Share Fire Safety Materials

Whether you’re looking to ban e-bike battery storage or not, it’s wise to share fire safety materials with your tenants. Tenants are likely just as worried about this issue as you are, and it won’t be malice that could lead to an incident – it would be ignorance. 

So, consider sharing this resource shared by FDNY directly with your tenants, posting it in communal areas, and including it in lease packets going forward. The best weapon against ignorance is education, so by providing educational resources (and making them readily available), you can help prevent accidents in your building. 

Require Renter’s Insurance

One way to prevent severe financial damages is to require your tenants who do want to store their e-bikes in your building to obtain renter’s insurance. This language, again, can be written into a rider on the lease, and some buildings even ask for a signed form where their insurance will indemnify the other homeowners and the building for any damage if the battery causes a fire. 

Of course, this is not a way to prevent an issue, but it definitely would discourage tenants from purchasing non-certified batteries for their e-bikes, and it would allow you financial recourse in the case of a fire. 

At the end of the day, accidents do happen and we can only do our best to mitigate the risk as much as possible. But! That doesn’t mean you’re alone! If you need help or advice on how to best mitigate this issue in your own building, get in touch! We can help you draft a rider or help you work with your tenants!


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