San Francisco Chevy Volt Owner Denied Recharging Privileges By Landlord

Trinity Management Services, reportedly one of San Francisco’s largest landlords, has put the kabash on one of its tenant’s intentions to recharge his Chevy Volt on premises.

According to a newscast by a Bay Area ABC affiliate which focuses on such perceived inequities, tenant Richard Wiesner got himself the new plug-in car which can be recharged in eight hours on regular 120-volt current, but was firmly denied permission.

The video lays out the case, but the short story is this could represent a rude logjam in the stream of progress toward green cars at an epicenter of green car adoption.

For its part, the landlord reportedly said only that it would deny any plug-in vehicles from recharging, but refused to comment further.

An attorney interviewed by the TV news team verified the landlord’s stance that the letter of the law says it is not contractually obliged to allow discretionary access to the plug.

That said, the plug is proximal to the indoor parking spot the tenant would use, and before it became an issue, it was presumably there for other benign purposes – such as as perhaps for a shop vac – although that is only implied, not entirely clear. Further, Wiesner offered to pay for the few extra kilowatts, but that was a no-go as well.

Given that somewhere around half of Bay Area dwellers rent their homes, the newscast said this could be a repeated problem in the face of an otherwise strong initiative to encourage cars that plug in.

And to be sure, the overall tide of sentiment is in favor of green cars, and in other quarters advocates have said such things as businesses and employers might readily provide plug access for free or for a nominal fee as a value-added service.

But that is apparently a wishful fantasy in this proverbial backwoods corner of the Bay Area region. Despite Wiesner’s reasoned entreaties, the landlord simply said no.

It’s a classic case of what constitutes a right versus a privilege, and a repeat of the age-old saga of who has the moral upper hand besides.

For his part, Wiesner said he thinks a decade from now he’ll be able to look back and laugh at a retracted mentality and policy that tried to stand in the way of plug-in vehicles.

For balance, we’d add also the landlord’s position, but we cannot, because it has only said no comment.

KGO-TV San Francisco


  • perfectapproach

    Lame.

    “Can I have this?”
    “No.”
    “Can I have it if I pay you for it?”
    “No.”
    “Even though you’ll never run out of it?”
    “No.”
    “Even though you’d actually profit from it?”
    “No.”
    “Even though you would have a steady stream of income?”
    “No.”

    Some people, you just can’t teach.

  • dutchinchicago

    Oh, it is OK. In 100 years after gloabal warming has flooded California and we are fighting our neighbors over a cup of drinkable water we can go to there children and go “haha, see we were right”.

  • Libertarian Don

    Sounds like my experiences dealing with government. It is likely related to liability if something goes wrong either technological or because of stupidity in use. There is also the problem of who pays for the hardware and electricity.

    If I were the landlord I’d keep the communication open rather than just say no and see if there is sufficient interest to make the expense a value add for attracting new renters. Likely there isn’t an liability issurance available at this time.

  • MS

    Did he ask permission to plug the vacuum cleaner?

    Why did he ask permission to plug the car.

    Obviously the answer was no, if there is any problem ??? Who would pay. In case of doubt is better to answer no.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    I’m not surprised at the landlord’s stance on this issue. The cord would become a liability because there’s always one id10t that causes a problem and in the case of apartment complexes there’s multiple id10ts.

    Even if the landowner built an area for a few plug in’s or EV’s I wouldn’t want my plug-in to sit outside all night charging at an apartment complex. Call me paranoid, but that’s just asking for some no good kid(s) to come around and unplug your car. Especially bad for those that own EV’s.

    So all in all I would agree with the landlord on this. The guy should have thought (that’s a wierd concept these days) ahead and asked the landlord about plugging into an outlet for charging. Looks like he just bought himself a very expensive non-rechargable (for now at least) low MPG hybrid.

  • AP

    If one person did this, it might cost $2/day ($60/month). If 2 people, $4/day. 10 people, $20/day ($600/month).

    So the landlord should just soak it up? Easy to say when you’re not the one paying.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Avalon apts in SF has charging spots in their rental parking lot, they are a very large landlord in the states for sure… maybe future tenants should take their business their instead.

    MrEnergyCzar

  • CJ

    Someone should tell the landlord about the new state law passed to support EV owning tenants. It stipulates that although landlords are not required to give any electricity away for free, they are required to respond to a tenant with a workable solution to provide on-site charging. This could involve charging a fee to recoup costs, but they can’t simply say “no”.

  • CJ

    Someone should tell the landlord about the new state law passed to support EV owning tenants. It stipulates that although landlords are not required to give any electricity away for free, they are required to respond to a tenant with a workable solution to provide on-site charging. This could involve charging a fee to recoup costs, but they can’t simply say “no”.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Luckily for landlords there are few people that own a plug-in hybrid/EV and rent an apartment.

  • Hazy

    Is it any surprise that the rest of the country laughs at California?
    The idiot didn’t think to check into charging options before he bought his car? It is laughable that California renters expect landlords to up front the cost of providing charging stations. For which technology? Compressed natural gas? Electricity (120 or 240 volt)? How about hydrogen just to be ready for a future that will probably not come in our life time? You guys deserve your high cost of living. Please do not move to other states, we cannot afford your lunacy.

  • Duude

    I agree its likely more about liability than the usage, though if used daily it might add about $2 a day or $60 a month if used regularly. Their attorneys probably told the landlord that any damage to the automobile’s battery or electrical system due to a surge could be a potential lawsuit. Whether it can be won has nothing to do with it. The cost of defense and the added cost of insurance for the landlord makes it a bad idea.

  • dutchinchicago

    I agree with Hazy,

    why would you expect anyone to do anything extra to help the US become energy independent? By the time global warming comes along we are all dead anyway and who does not love a good oil war.

  • hangemhi

    Anything to stay away from close minded, low IQ types, such as you.

    Note; there was a plug near the car, and he offered to pay to use it. Obviously reading isn’t your forte