Housing Inspection Notice From Landlord

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by tele-rain, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    I live in a small apartment building and received a notice yesterday about an upcoming housing inspection. This is totally fine to me, and actually really gives me peace of mind that the landlord follows regulations and laws, making my apartment safer (I would hope). I'm living here for five years and I do recall once before they had a Fire Department official come through and do an inspection. From what I'm reading, this is different, as it's from the Bureau of Housing.

    There is one bit of wording that interests me on the notice...he says "Make sure that you don't have extensions and that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work". I check the detectors regularly (make sure the lights are blinking), but the extension thing is throwing me off. Does he mean NO EXTENSIONS? Or NO EXTENSIONS BEING USED IMPROPERLY, such as piggy backed, taped up around doors, under rugs, etc. The outlets in my apartment are scarce. In my living room, there are only two on walls facing each other. One outlet is close to the window, so I didn't like having a lamp there because it didn't light up the room enough. So I have an extension cord running behind the couch, to the lamp. The cord is not covered by anything, there is no carpet or rug there, it's laying across the wood floor,behind the couch but not being squished against the wall or by the couch. I am using it in complete compliance with how they should be used, but I don't know if this will be considered a violation. I also have a power strip plugged in there which holds my charger and laptop while I'm sitting there. My question is, should I leave the lamp as is and take the chance, even though it's being used properly? Or just move it to the other corner minus the extension cord for the day of inspection?

    I think this may work out in my favor though, because as some of you may recall, I recently posted about realizing that not many of my outlets are grounded. I wonder if the inspection checks for that as well, and if they'd have to upgrade my electric sources overall. What else would an inspection be looking for?
  2. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    Extension cord load limits are in a lot of new office regs we have.
    (volts/watts/amp/load rating)

    Maybe they watched the Christmas Story too much.
    fatcat, nojazzhere and tele-rain like this.
  3. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ

  4. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Jul 20, 2010
    Fit a new mains cable of the correct rating and length to the lamp, no extension required.
  5. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    If I'm understanding this correctly, you're saying to basically rewire the lamp with proper length & rating cord? That is definitely out of my wheelhouse and I'd be better off getting used to the lamp by the window!
  6. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2013
    Under Michigan fire code (not sure about NJ), extension cords are not to be used for permanent power solutions. The more connections you have, the more chances that something gets bumped or broken, and increases fire risk. @beagle 's advice is solid.
    bparnell57 likes this.
  7. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    Hmm, interesting. I'm trying to find a listing of NJ specific codes, but I'm betting it's probably the same. Seems crazy though, at least in terms of extension cords being used properly. What would a temporary power solution be?

    My other concern now that I'm thinking of it is my two window air conditioners. They're not plugged in now of course, but for both I do use a heavy duty, heavy appliance extension cord. I plug this directly into the outlet, because I know it's not to go anywhere else. The outlets are too far from the window, so this would be the same case. I wonder if they'll take the time to check that the A/C cords don't reach the outlets and deduce that an extension is used as well, albiet properly.
  8. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 23, 2003
    why not let the inspector inspect the place under actual living conditions? Isa your landlord worried that his property will not pass inspection because you are using an extension cord - because there are not enough outlets? Let the inspector tell you if this is unsafe. Otherwise you may be using an unsafe installation and you will be guilty of hiding that from the inspector.
    DrPepper, Mike SS, stevemc and 3 others like this.
  9. joealso

    joealso Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Dec 25, 2012
    East Haddam, CT
    I agree. Presuming that there is no mention of extension cords in the lease. Hypothetically, you remove the extension cords for the inspection and then replace them afterwards. Even if they are being used properly - if there is a fire in the building later and extension cords are found in your apartment, is it possible that you could be held to blame? Or is it possible that your renter's insurance may not cover your loss? (You DO have renter's insurance, right?)

    If it's not mentioned in your lease, then I think the worst case scenario is that the inspector would tell you to remove them if they don't meet code.
    Deeve, fatcat and tele-rain like this.
  10. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    That's a very fair point! I am using the extension cord in the best possible way that one can use them, so if that is considered a violation, then the landlord will likely have to add more outlets to my apartment.

    On the other wall, I have my TV, small stereo set up. All of that is plugged into a surge protector and there is no way around that, as everyone these days has a TV, cable box, router, modem, dvd player, roku box, etc.
  11. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    Very true too, I'm going to check the lease again as well. And again, I think this may end up falling on the landlord to have to install a few more outlets. It's the 21st century and 2 outlets per room in odd places is not going to cut it with today's multiple devices. And yes, I do have renter's insurance, that is part of the lease agreement.
  12. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Maybe he’s talking about hair extensions. They don’t always look all that great.
  13. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 30, 2010
    New York City
    Unless the current wiring in the building is actually unsafe for some reason, the inspector most likely can't force the landlord to upgrade it to current code. If major renovations need to be done or are done to the building, that's possibly another story.
    Nickadermis and tele-rain like this.
  14. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    Answer the door buck naked and they probably wont even notice the extension cord.
    Should make for a very speedy inspection too.
  15. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    Clever, LOL!! That clearly must be what he meant...maybe he's getting ready to host the next season of Queer Eye :D
  16. bill in kc

    bill in kc TDPRI Member

    Mar 24, 2003
    kansas city, mo
    I work for a Federal agency, and our health and safety folks are very careful about extensions and such. A/c units should never be plugged into an extension. Don't ever leave anything plugged into an extension when it is not being used. At home, my wife unplugs the toaster and coffee pot (and everything) when not in use. Be safe!
    tery likes this.
  17. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    What about the outlets not being grounded? Both of these don't seem to be grounded, as the light on the surge protector does not light up saying "grounded" or "protected". Would that be considered unsafe?
  18. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2008
    Bayonne, NJ
    I never leave the toaster or coffee pot plugged in, so I'm good there. The lamp does stay plugged in via extension cord, so perhaps I will get in the habit of unplugging it when I leave the apartment. Other stuff plugged in all the time is the surge protector with my TV, cable, etc. set up. And of course, the fridge on one wall, microwave on another. And again, the A/C should never plugged into an extension" is completely impractical. The cord is short, there is no cord next to the window. I purchased a heavy duty appliance extension cord that states can be used for A/C. Do they make units with longer cords? Then I'll have to buy two of those before next warm season arrives!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  19. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

    Aug 28, 2018
    There are a lot of ungrounded outlets in the united states. I doubt that it would be affordable for any of the older buildings to run a ground and tie it into the outlets across the board.

    Just don't do something to make yourself the ground. My parents and I (first in their house, and now in mine) have been using ungrounded outlets for eons and the only time that i ever got the bad end of that was sticking a bobby pin in an outlet at age 4 - which wasn't a great idea. I'm not sure if that would throw any of the GFCI or AFCI breakers or outlets these days, but I got enough current to dim the lights and almost permanently switch myself off.

    Since then, no problem.

    If your outlet is a 15 amp outlet and you're using a suitable extension cord to an air conditioner (e.g., if the A/C is 8 amps and you're using a 12 or 14 gauge cord), there shouldn't be a problem. Perhaps more danger to shortening the life of objects on the ends of undersized cords than to the house (due to a voltage drop - if the current got high enough to cause a problem, it should blow a fuse or trip a breaker).

    I am not an electrician and don't even play one, just things I've learned over the years. As a kid, I tied a box heater into a two prong outlet connected to one of those brown cords with only a couple of strands of copper (they're probably 16 or 18 gauge) and got away with it. Something I wouldn't advise now, but we did it all over the house.

    Our house did almost burn down once...

    ..... due to a creosote fire in the chimney....

    Lamps, etc, are never going to cause a problem. Running a large A/C connected across the room by those little dollar store extension cords, far different things. Or toaster and coffee pot at the same time on a cord rated for much less than they draw.
  20. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 30, 2010
    New York City
    Unsafe for anything you have plugged into the surge protector, yes, because the surge protector requires a ground to route any surges away from equipment plugged into it. Right now it’s essentially a glorified extension cord, and you already know how your landlord feels about extension cords being out during the inspection. Lol.

    As long as the landlord hasn’t replaced any two prong outlets with three pronged outlets to make them LOOK grounded without actually grounding them (e.g. kitchen and bathroom outlets are possible culprits), it’s probably not something the inspector would require to be upgraded. The inspector may strongly recommend that the landlord upgrade all of the two prong ungrounded outlets to properly grounded three prong outlets, but I don’t think it’s something they can force without a direct safety issue.

    EDIT: One thing that the inspector may be able to require if you have ungrounded outlets in the bathroom or kitchen, is for the landlord to install GCFI outlets in those locations. They're still not grounded, but they're safer than having ungrounded 2 (or bogus 3) prong outlets in placed where small/large appliances are used that can draw a lot of current.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
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