Toolish Landlord/Fire Hazard/Lease Breaking Solution?

I have a tool for a landlord. He’s proved that again and again. The details are too long to get into now, but suffice to say, I’ve reflected on my past actions/statements and am satisfied he’s the greater tool than I.

Recently, one of my outlets gave up the goose in a scary puff of acrid smoke. I removed the cover and saw that the wires inside had burnt.

I worried about this – fire hazard being the prime concern.

Then, yesterday, another outlet did the same thing.

My landlord and I have been unable to connect for a variety of reasons over the past couple of weeks but I’ve made an appointment with him for tomorrow night. I want him to look at the outlets and get them repaired.

This may involve extensive re-wiring and I can just hear the blame-apportioning now “You left your fridge plugged in all the time. It’s your fault.” “You used the outlet to plug in a lamp, what do you expect?” Etc…

My question is: according to Taiwan laws, do I have recourse to break the lease and get my deposit back if he refuses to repair the wires in the apartment?

I’ve decided to move on anyway if he does balk at repairing it, since not only is that irritating as all f*@k but potentially puts my life and/or worldly possesions in danger. Not to mention anyone else in the building. He lives downstairs but I’m almost willing to bet he’d rather risk it and save a few thousand NT.

Your thoughts?

i’m no lawyer, so I cant help you with specifics, sorry…

but I’d say that 2 seperate occurances of plugs going up in flames is grounds for a very legitimate and serious complaint… it’s not just your life and property at risk, it’s the safety of everyone in the building… I think your chances of having the law on your side are good… :braveheart:

Excuse my ignorance, but by “outlet” you mean plug socket, right?
Or are you refering to some other electrical thing?

I can’t see how the landlord/spanner can back out of this one. Have you got a contract which was signed by you and him which details your rights in cases like this?
I may be wrong, but I think landlords are leaglly obliged to do something about repairs and maintenance, whatever the contract.

Sounds like you need to take pictures of this, in case it should go to a legal stage…Or maybe just post them in the lobby with your landlord’s face next to them pointing out his negligance to you and the whole building???

  1. get a smoke alarm TODAY.
  2. get an ABC fire extinguisher or two TODAY.
  3. depending on what floor you live on, check out your fire escape options. Go out TODAY and buy a good rope, knot it every meter or so, tie it in a noose, and look around in advance for what to anchor it to in case of a fire so you can climb out of a window if need be.
  4. buy an emergency lighting system, big flashlight, or whatever, and keep it by your bed so if a fire starts in the night you have illumination to get out.
  5. call the fire department or the city government or have someone call them for you and have the place inspected. I’m not sure who to contact, but it’s your life. Don’t take any chances!!!

If you can’t figure out who to call, PM me and I’ll try to help.

Lisen man, if your electrical outlets are going up in smoke, then you have some serious electricity issues that need to be worked out quickly. Because 2 things come to mind

  1. You’re overloading the wires with too many appliances
  2. You’re apartment is wired improperly

Either way follow dragonbones advice and get your landlord up there to sort it out.

Please be careful,

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I’ll buy a fire extinguisher on my dinner hour (wait, where are the sold?) & have a big flashlight.

I’ll get the landlord looking at the outlets (Dangermouse, I meant sockets for plugs) tonight and if he doesn’t budge, I’ll call the fire department and have an inspection/start looking for a new place.

As for the “why”… I’d guess improper wiring as the first socket/outlet to go up in smoke had one reading lamp plugged into it which I doubt could overload anything.

I think the photo idea is a good one as well, but seriously, if he balks at this, he can save his NT’s and watch his rooftop turn into a bonfire. But, not being the murderously vengeful type, I will get the fire department involved and aware before I move on.

They have fire extinguishers (be sure it’s ABC) and emergency lighting (plugs into wall outlet, charges battery; lights come on if power goes out), as well as smoke alarms at Costco and should have them at similar stores (RT Mart, B&Q, etc,.), and might have them at hardware stores too. For rope, the hardware store is good. Put your smoke alarms (usu. needs 9V battery) atop your highest furniture in the living room and bedroom, and be sure to test the battery with the test button once every 6 months or so. Keeping one fire ext. in the kitchen and another in the bedroom is good. Get a couple of flashlights and put them in different places. You can put glow-tape on them
so you can find them if the lights go out suddenly. This is good for sudden power outages of all kinds, which are moderately frequent here in Taiwan during typhoons, and after quakes and mudslides.

dude! call the house/fire inspector right away, they will demand the landlord fix those issues ASAP.

Its strange that it could be a current overload though, because that should trip the fuses…odd.

I dont know if Taiwan as a house inspector, but they must have a fire inspector who checks to make sure the building is up to fire/safety codes…

Fuses? What are they? We don’ need no steenkin’ fuses!

Oh, wait, I know what fuses are – they’re those things in the fusebox that you bypass with a length of heavy-gauge bare copper wire.

I would move out of there before the place burns down and he holds you responsible…

As people ahve said, get the necessary repairs done. If the landlord doesn’t do them, pay for them yourself and deduct the cost form the next month’s rent. (Be sure to get a receipt).


He balked, I threatened to walk, his wife squawked.

Looks like it’s all being repaired this weekend.

Gotta love the tai-tai’s!

[quote=“rooftop”]He balked, I threatened to walk, his wife squawked.

Looks like it’s all being repaired this weekend.

Gotta love the tai-tai’s![/quote]
Do check your fuse box once the guy’s done the repairs – There maybe won’t be actual bare wire bypasses but its very common to find fuses that are waay too heavy for safety.


How would I know that? Serious question. I don’t know anything about fuses and how heavy they should be.

Would there be a number on the fuses and on the box that I could compare?


How would I know that? Serious question. I don’t know anything about fuses and how heavy they should be.

Would there be a number on the fuses and on the box that I could compare?[/quote]
You’ll need to ask someone with more knowledge than me about such things. I just know that when we had a (small) fire in our fusebox, the repairman pointed out to me that the reason for the fire was that a previous electrician had installed fusewire that was far too heavy. He said its done often.

Thanks Sandman,

I’ll try to charade that one to the repair guy.

Good to know.

Also, I’ve been trying to find a number for fire inspectors to post here, in the Wiki and the emergency numbers list, so if anyone has it, please share it for everyone.


Do you speak Chinese well enough to call to get the numbers of fire inspectors for your area and talk to them about this? If not, PM me with your location (i.e., city district like Songshan, Da An, etc.) and I’ll try to call for you and get an inspector over. I’d hate to see a fellow Forumosan pull a Michael Jackson in reverse.