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Many lease agreements specifically forbid tenants to have waterbeds and other types of water filled furniture. This clause may seem amusing or just confusing for people to whom it does not apply, but for others, it can be very frustrating. In many areas, a majority of landlords forbid tenants to have waterbeds, which can make it challenging to find a home if you own a waterbed.. The primary reason landlords forbid tenants to have waterbeds is because of the potential for immense damage. Another issue for landlords is disposing of the furniture if tenants leave it behind or are evicted.
As a general rule, most states allow clauses in lease agreements in which landlords forbid potentially problematic items or behavior. If a landlord includes a clause to forbid tenants to have waterbeds, a challenge to the clause will probably not hold up in court. As an alternative, a tenant may be asked to pay a higher deposit. Tenants should learn about the rental laws in their region. In most states, for example, a landlord may not ask for a deposit which exceeds two months rent. Some states provide an exception for furnished homes, in which a landlord may request more, or when a tenant owns water-filled furniture. By being armed with this information, tenants can protect themselves from landlords who act outside the law, or offer a suggestion for reaching an amicable agreement.
The damage issues behind the decision to forbid tenants to have waterbeds is clear. If a piece of water filled furniture ruptures, it can release a high volume of water into a room in a very short period of time. The water can quickly soak carpeting and flooring, potentially leading to rot, mold, and mildew. The rupture may also damage walls, doors, and electrical fixtures. A slow leak can be just as damaging, potentially, since the trickle of water may be too subtle for the tenants to notice, but it can create the same long-term problems.
The problem with disposing of the furniture is also a valid reason to forbid tenants to have waterbeds. While a landlord may be able to sell the furniture, this will take time on the part of the landlord. If the landlord ends up having to pay for disposal, this cash outlay can be considerable. Many landlords consider this issue when they forbid tenants to have waterbeds, if the potential damage is not enough.
If a clause in a lease agreement is included to forbid tenants to have waterbeds, violation of the agreement may be grounds for eviction. This is the case with any major violation of a lease agreement, although most landlords will warn tenants and ask them to correct the problem before issuing an eviction notice. If a tenant strongly feels that he or she needs a waterbed despite a lease agreement which excludes one, he or she should work it out with the landlord.
I'm not a big fan of waterbeds in general, so I'm glad that many tenants aren't allowed to have them. I'd hate to think that my upstairs neighbor's bed could come crashing through the ceiling some night. Those things are super heavy, and a lot of apartment complexes just aren't built to handle them. My apartment manager told me that the owners of the complex forbid tenants to have waterbeds mostly for the reasons mentioned in the article.
I once shared a small duplex with a young woman who was living on her own for the first time. I helped her bring in what little furniture she had, then I asked her about her bed. She said she was going to set up a waterbed she had just bought at a thrift store. I didn't think it was a good idea, but I helped her set it up anyway. It required a significant amount of water to fill it up.
Three days later, our landlord showed up to make some minor repairs in her side of the duplex, and he discovered the waterbed. He was clearly not happy. He told me to tell her to drain that
waterbed and remove it from the duplex within a week. He said the floor joists were not strong enough to handle the weight of a waterbed, and since it was not brand new, there were no guarantees it wouldn't burst.
I felt sorry for her, since she didn't really have enough money to purchase a conventional bed at the time, but I could also see the landlord's point. If that bed fell through the floor or the mattress burst, both of our apartments might be ruined.