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Fire safety is a concern for everyone, especially landlords and property managers. According to Statistics Canada, more than 100 Canadians die every year, on average, from fires in their homes. Of course, you can be held responsible if your property doesn’t have proper fire safety features. In 2018, two Ontario landlords were charged after one tenant died during a fire on their property. The property didn’t have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers or carbon monoxide detectors.
Maintaining fire safety is important all year, however many property managers and landlords choose to focus on their fire safety efforts in the fall. Fall is a common time for fire safety because as there are more fire hazards around the home during the colder months such as rusty heaters and wood-burning fireplaces. A fire in the winter is especially tough for tenants who may be displaced from their homes.
If you haven’t yet checked up on your property’s safety this year, it’s imperative you do it now, not only to abide by the law but to keep your tenants safe and avoid liability. Here is a checklist and extra tips on how to keep your tenants safe:
Landlord Fire Safety Checklist
Every fall, it’s best to run through this checklist to make sure your property is safe:
1. Do you have a smoke alarm on every floor?
2. Do you have a smoke alarm outside every sleeping area?
3. Are all smoke alarms functional, with batteries, and loud enough to wake people?
4. Are there two emergency exits per dwelling?
5. Are emergency exits unobstructed and easily accessible?
6. Do you have at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor?
7. Are all carbon monoxide detectors functional, with batteries?
8. Are all carbon monoxide detectors installed at knee height?
9. Are all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory?
10. Have tenants been given fire safety instructions?
11. Do tenants know they can communicate fire safety concerns to you?
12. Are all fire extinguishers inspected and functional? (You may not be required to provide these, but if you do, you must keep them in good working order)
Be sure that you’re familiar with your city’s specific fire codes and add those items to this list.
Landlord Fire Safety Tips
Here are a few other ways to keep your property safe year-round:
Respond immediately to tenant fire safety concerns
Prevent tenants from accessing heat sources or placing flammable items near them
Show tenants their emergency exits and communicate with them about your fire safety efforts
Remind tenants that they cannot disable or interfere with smoke alarms
Keep Your Property Safe with Kolt Property Management
If you find yourself low on time and unable to make space for a fall fire safety check, you’re risking your property and opening yourself up to liability. Those landlords who just don’t have the time should look into professional property management. With Kolt Property Management, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your property is up to fire safety standards. Reach out for a property management proposal today.