Micromobility Devices

What are the new rules regarding lithium battery-powered devices, and how do we ensure building fire safety with the charging and storage of these devices inside our properties?

A 2024 state law, Civil Code section 1940.41, now governs how we manage the increasing use of personal micromobility devices that many residents use for transportation.  A personal micromobility device is defined as something that is both powered by the physical exertion of the rider or an electric motor and is designed to transport one person or one adult accompanied by up to three minors.  As evidenced by the increasing amount of building fires resulting from improper storage and charging of the lithium batteries that typically energize these devices, housing providers are at risk by the proliferation of e-bikes, electric scooters, and electric hoverboards.  Here are some tips to help navigate this new reality.

Section 1940.41 mandates that a housing provider must either provide a common area storage space for charging or allow each resident to store and charge one personal micromobility device inside the dwelling.  For owners that do not provide common area storage and instead must allow in-unit charging, they may require ONE of the following criteria for each device:

  • The device is not powered by an electric motor and, as such, no charging is needed.
  • The device meets the following safety standards:
    • For e-bikes, UL 2849, the Standard for Electrical Systems for E-bikes, as recognized by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, or EN 15194, the European Standard for electrically powered assisted cycles (EPAC Bicycles).
    • For e-scooters, UL 2272, the Standard for Electrical Systems for Electrical Systems for Personal E-Mobility Devices, as recognized by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, or EN 17128, the European Standard for personal light electric vehicles (PLEV).
  • The device is insured by the resident under an insurance policy covering storage of the device within the resident’s dwelling.  A device that meets this requirement may be stored but not charged inside the unit unless the safety standards of (2) above are satisfied. Residents must provide proof of insurance to the landlord if requested. 

Thus, despite what a lease may prohibit, owners may only prevent in-unit storage and charging if they have created a “Micromobility Device Storage Area” in the building that has sufficient outlets available for each building resident to charge and store their devices.  And regardless of what route you choose, please make sure you have changed the terms of existing tenancies by issuing CAA Form CA-162, Notice of Change of Terms of Tenancy for Personal Micromobility Devices.  This form should be served on all tenants now to conform their existing leases to Section 1940.41.  CAA Form CA-340, titled Personal Micromobility Device Information Request, should also be delivered to current and new residents.  Form 340 seeks information on the type of device that will be stored and charged.  New leases should include CAA Form CA-102, the Micromobility Device Storage Area Addendum, which, like Form 162, apprises residents of their obligations to safely store and charge devices within your building. 

The bottom line is that micromobility devices are likely being charged and stored in your rental properties today.  Buildings catch fire because residents continue to improperly charge the lithium batteries, yet state law now mandates that housing providers permit renters to keep these devices either in designated common areas or inside the apartment.  Please make sure you use these CAA forms in all existing and new leases.  Consider updating your building’s electrical systems and strive to maintain adequate insurance for loss of property and personal injury.  Micromobility devices are here to stay, so we need to quickly adapt our practices to minimize the inherent risks that they pose.

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