July 18th, 2012
Fire Chief: Landlords Are Responsible for Working Fire Alarms
On July 4th, 2012 the Georgina Fire Department responded to a fire in a residential house in Keswick, Ontario.
How Strong was the Fire?
There are reports from witnesses the flames were rising more than 20 feet above the house.
Was Anyone Hurt?
All occupants, including a child, who were renting the Keswick home were out of the house with no injuries when the fire department arrived.
What Was the Cause of the Fire?
According to Deputy Fire Chief Steve Richardson, an extension cored plugged into a portable air condition unit was the cause of the fire.
No Smoke Detectors?
Richardson states his crew found the property lacked any functional smoke detectors. Because of this the landlord was fined for “failing to install working smoke detectors” under the Ontario Fire Code.
Did the Family Have Contents Insurance?
The fire was especially harmful to the tenants. All of their belongings were lost and they did not have contents insurance.
Richardson states this “acts as a stern warning to homeowners when it comes to smoke detectors.”
Why is the Landlord Being Fined When it was the Tenants Fault?
Richardson states: “Owners and landlords are responsible for ensuring working smoke alarms are installed in all rental properties.”
He asks: What would have happened if this fire had occurred during the night when everyone would be sleeping? There likely would have been seriously injuries…or even a death.
What Does the Ontario Fire Code Require?
Richardson states what the Ontario Fire Code requires. You need working smoke alarms installed on every story of your home. You also need smoke alarms outside all sleeping areas.
If a landlord doesn’t have these the law can result in a ticket of $235 or fines up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.
How Can Landlords Protect Ourselves?
It’s important to do regular checks on your rental properties to ensure the smoke detectors work. When you do this, make sure your tenants sign off that the smoke detectors are working.
How Can I Get Them to Sign Off Agreeing to it?
In the Ontario Landlords Association Rental Kit there is a ready made document for you to give to your tenants.