We are renting a home that has an older outdated electrical system. The main issue we are having is the 240v plug for the dryer isn't grounded, which is a building code violation.

From another question I determined that the home is most likely grandfathered in to older building codes, however, the kitchen and other areas of the house have been recently remodeled.

This may be incorrect, but as I understand it, if you remodel a home, you must bring the relevant areas up to code in the process.

This may be completely incorrect, but at the moment my dryer isnt usable due to this flaw, and my family doesn't feel safe with the potential fire hazard

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    You may get a better answer about this over at Home Improvement.SE. – Ron Beyer Nov 19 '18 at 21:52
  • Why would lack of grounding make an appliance unusable? Perhaps you're referring to the grounded neutral (for 110v) and not the safety grounding conductor? – Upnorth Sep 5 '19 at 6:01

I assume (from the other question) you mean Cleveland (ordinances may differ depending on exactly where you are). When a person "alters" a regulated structure, under the municipal code they are required to get a permit. Electrical work is included in the scope of what requires a permit. A penalty may be assessed under § 3103.99 if a person violates the ordinance. If, for example, new electrical circuits were added to the kitchen, that would require a city permit. But the scope of the required permit is limited to just that which is altered, per §3137.02: the basic rule is that anything changed must comply with the electrical code. Adding grounding of the service panel would be within the scope of required upgrades if you replace the panel, but that does not entail adding ground wires to existing circuits. Likewise, adding a circuit means that the circuit must have a ground wire, but does not require adding anything past the service panel. Theoretically, the city could take the contractor to court for doing unpermitted work, but the penalty is against violating the permit regulations, not against owning property where unpermitted work was done ("it was like that when we bought it").

  • At a slightly greater level of generality, whether or not you have to bring something that was grandfathered up to code depends upon the extent of the renovation. This may be difficult to determine if the renovation predated the current owner's ownership of the property. – ohwilleke Dec 21 '18 at 8:56

Whether the installation must brought up to code or not, Ohio law requires the landlord to provide safe habitability. Specifically

Ohio Revised code Title 53 section 5321.04 Landlord obligations. provides:

(A) A landlord who is a party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following:

  • (1) Comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes that materially affect health and safety;

  • (2) Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;

  • (3) Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition;

  • (4) Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord;

If the condition is in fact unsafe, the landlord can be required to correct it under this section, whether it meets code or is "grandfathered in" or not.

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