Can a Landlord Prohibit Space Heaters?

As a landlord, I understand the importance of keeping my rental properties safe.

That’s why I’m concerned about the use of space heaters in my properties. While space heaters can be a convenient way for tenants to stay warm during the colder months, they can also pose a serious fire hazard.

In this article, I’ll explore the risks of space heaters and discuss whether a landlord can prohibit them. I’ll discuss the best way to do this and also offer some alternative options for tenants to stay warm that are less dangerous.

If you have don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:

A landlord may prohibit the use of space heaters provided that there is an alternative source of heating in the premises that meets state and local heating requirements. To avoid confusion, landlords should communicate the prohibition clearly to tenants and include a provision in the lease that spells it out.

Ok – let’s get into it.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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The Risks and Drawbacks of Space Heaters

Space heaters can be dangerous for a number of reasons.

First, they can easily tip over if they’re not placed on a flat, stable surface. This can cause the heating element to come into contact with flammable materials, such as curtains, bedding, or carpeting, which can quickly lead to a fire.

Second, space heaters can overload electrical circuits if they’re not used properly. This can cause a circuit to trip or, in extreme cases, it can lead to an electrical fire.

Third, space heaters can consume an immense amount of electricity if used around the clock. If you, as a landlord are paying for utilities, this can be a huge cost month after month.

Fourth, space heaters can cause burns if they are touched or bumped into while in use. This is particularly dangerous for children or pets who may not understand the dangers of a hot surface.

Fifth, space heaters can be a trip hazard if they are placed in areas where they can be easily bumped or knocked over.

Can a Landlord Prohibit Space Heaters?

Given the hazards associated with space heaters, it’s understandable that landlords may want to prohibit them in their rental properties. However, it’s important to note that there are some limitations to what a landlord can do in this regard.

First, tenants have the right to a certain level of comfort and safety in their rental properties. This means that landlords are generally required to provide adequate heating during the colder months.

If a landlord prohibits space heaters and fails to provide adequate heating, they could be in violation of their legal obligations to their tenants.

If a landlord does not offer central heating in the unit, they should at a minimum provide alternative heating sources, such as baseboard heaters or radiators.

Ultimately, whether or not a landlord can prohibit space heaters will depend on the specific circumstances of their rental properties and the state and local laws and regulations governing landlord-tenant relationships, so you will need to familiarize yourself with these rules and regulations for a definitive answer. Or you can hire a lawyer to short circuit the process (and probably wind up with a more accurate answer to boot).

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How Should a Landlord Prohibit Space Heaters?

As mentioned earlier, a landlord should be clear to the tenant when prohibiting space heaters. They should have a conversation with the tenant, explaining the risks that they pose and the rationale for why they are not allowed.

The landlord should also make sure that the lease contains a provision that clearly prohibits the use of space heaters in the rental property and the right to conduct periodic inspections to confirm that the tenant is complying.

If the tenant continue to express a desire to use some sort of additional heating source, you can offer better alternatives that you would not be against. Let’s turn to that.

Alternative Options for Tenants to Stay Warm

If a landlord is concerned about the risks of space heaters but wants to provide their tenants with alternative options to stay warm, there are a few options to consider.

One option is to install additional heating units, such as baseboard heaters or portable radiators. These can be installed in each room or in common areas, such as living rooms or bedrooms.

They’re generally safer than space heaters because they’re less likely to tip over, they’re designed to be used in a specific location, and they’re often equipped with safety features, such as automatic shut-off switches.

Another option that tenants can use is electric blankets. They are not as dangerous as space heaters but can still offer considerable warmth.

Finally, landlords can work with their tenants to ensure that their rental units are properly insulated and that windows and doors are sealed to prevent drafts. This can help to keep warm air inside the rental unit and reduce the need for supplemental heating.


In the end, the key to successfully managing the risks associated with space heaters is to strike a balance between providing tenants with the comfort they need and ensuring their safety.

By being proactive in addressing these risks, landlords can help to create a safe and comfortable living environment for their tenants while also protecting their rental properties from potential damage or liability.

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