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Can I stop tenants keeping e-bikes and e-scooters in my property?

Posted 4/03/2024 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords/Lettings
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E-bikes and e-scooters are a much more carbon emission-friendly mode of transport than motor vehicles and can be quicker and more convenient than taking public transport. As such, they are becoming increasingly popular among tenants.

However, they are powered by lithium-ion batteries, and when these catch alight it is not a ‘normal’ fire. Dominic Ellis, Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, explains: “Fires involving lithium batteries can be ferocious, producing jets of flame, and can be extremely challenging to put out. This type of fire also produces a highly flammable, explosive and toxic vapour cloud which should never be inhaled.”


Although lithium-ion batteries are very common these days - found in personal electronic devices such as phones, tablets and laptops – they become a serious safety risk if unregulated products are bought online and the batteries don’t meet UK safety standards. Often, devices catch alight when they’re being charged because they don’t have the right charger, and conversion kits also present a greater risk as they aren’t currently regulated.

In the first 6 months of 2023, out of 73 e-bike fires in London:

  • More than two-thirds involved failure of the battery
  • At least 40% involved a converted e-bike
  • More than 40% were believed to be on charge at the time

And over the whole year, 155 e-bike fires and 28 e-scooter fires were recorded in the capital - a 78% increase on 2022. The London Fire Brigade has said that e-bikes and e-scooters remain London's fastest growing fire risk.

How can you protect your property?

Given that these lithium-fuelled fires could easily completely destroy a property, landlords are certainly right to be concerned about their tenants keeping e-bikes and e-scooters on the premises. While there is no specific law around this, it is advisable to treat e-vehicles in a similar way to pets, i.e. have a clause in the tenancy agreement requiring that tenants request permission to keep them, which should not unreasonably be refused.

Tenants can be asked to sign a ‘safety rules’ document at the same time as their tenancy agreement, whereby they agree, for example:

  • To only use manufacturer-approved batteries and chargers that meet UK safety standards
  • To follow the manufacturer’s instructions, particularly with regard to temperature thresholds and maximum charge levels
  • Not to block escape routes with their e-vehicle
  • Never to charge batteries when they are out or asleep
  • To unplug the battery once it is charged
  • To disconnect batteries when they’re not in use
  • Not to use batteries that have been damaged, e.g. by being dropped

Tenants can also be directed to the advice provided by the London Fire Brigade and its #ChargeSafe campaign, and reminded that their possessions are not covered by landlord insurance, so they will need to obtain their own contents insurance ensuring it provides cover for e-bikes/e-scooters. Tenants can get an online quote through our partner First2Protect here.


If they will be keeping e-vehicles at the property:

  • Check with your landlord insurance provider that you are covered for damage from e-vehicle lithium-ion battery fires
  • If possible, provide a secure storage facility outside the property – e.g. in a garage or shed
  • Ideally, ensure the storage area has electricity so batteries don’t need to be charged in the property
  • Install additional smoke detectors in the locations where your tenant will store their vehicle and charge the battery

Finally, on periodic inspections, if your property isn’t managed by Reeds Rains do take particular note of the tenant’s storing and charging practices and, if necessary, send them a follow-up letter reminding them of the safety rules.

If we manage your property, be assured that we will always make appropriate checks throughout the tenancy and will also let you know if there are any additional fire safety measures we think you should install. You can also take a look at the London Fire Brigade’s guidance for landlords on the safe storage and charging of these vehicles, which has a particular focus on mitigating fire risks in communal areas.


If you have any further questions, you can find the contact details for your local lettings team here.

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