Posts Tagged ‘smoke alarms’

Ontario Landlords Association Launches Fire Safety Campaign 2018-2019!

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Ontario Landlords Association Fire Safety Campaign Rental Property

Successful Ontario landlords know how important fire safety is for their rental business!

Providing safe rental properties is a vital part of your rental property business. Fire departments across Ontario are making sure Fines laid for smoke alarm violations . Sadly there are still horrible stories of  tragic fire related events that could have been avoided.

Safe rentals are also a great way to let all the good tenants out there know you are a responsible and professional landlord who takes being a landlord seriously.  Successful landlords know good tenants want to rent from responsible landlords who rent out safe and well maintained rental housing units.

The Ontario Landlords Association has launched our Fire Safety Campaign to make sure residential landlords across the province are aware of their responsibilities for owning rental properties.

We also want to help all the great landlords who have safe properties to work with their tenants to make sure it’s a “win-win” situation for everyone.

We want every small residential landlord in Ontario to make sure their rental property is safe for tenants. In order to help educate our Ontario Landlord Community we have reached out to fire professionals for assistance. Whether you are an Ottawa landlord or a Toronto landlord, we want to help!

The great news for landlords is our provincial fire departments have been extremely helpful and share our goal for better and for safer residential rental properties across Ontario.

The issue of safety in residential rental properties is often in the media in St Catharines, Ontario. So the OLA reached out to the Chief Fire Prevention Officer of St Catharines. 

The Chief is Frank Donati and he was happy to help and cares deeply about fire safety. We thank Chief Donati for his time and for helping us get this important message out to residential landlords across the province.

1. What are the responsibilities of private residential landlords when it comes to fire safety in our rental properties?

Landlords are responsible for their property to comply with all applicable requirements of the Ontario Fire Code. Under the Ontario Fire Code, it is the owner’s responsibility to comply with the provisions of the Code, in the case of a rental suite the landlord shall be considered to be the owner (Division B, Article 2.13.1.1. and Article 6.3.3.2., O. Reg 213/07 as amended).

2. What are the rules in St Catharines for rental properties regarding making the property fire safe?

St Catharines requires the same level of conformity as the rest of the municipalities in Ontario – comply with the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code and all referenced Standards.

3. Are these rules the same in the rest of Ontario?

The Ontario Fire Code is applicable throughout the Province as the minimum fire and life safety requirements. Some municipalities or jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements in some cases – always contact your local Fire Prevention department for specific requirements in your area.

4. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to smoke alarms?

It’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every story and outside all sleeping areas in each dwelling unit. Landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the law. Specifically, a landlord is responsible for installing smoke alarms and keeping them in working condition, including testing, repairs and replacement if necessary. Furthermore, the landlord of each rental suite shall give the tenant a copy of the smoke alarm manufacturer’s maintenance instructions or approved alternative maintenance instructions. A landlord must also act to correct any problem or concern reported about the operation of an installed smoke alarm.

5. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to carbon monoxide alarms?

As with smoke alarms, landlords are responsible for the installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide alarms. The landlord is also responsible for providing the tenant with carbon monoxide alarm maintenance instructions. Testing of the carbon monoxide alarms and providing the tenant with carbon monoxide alarm maintenance instructions is also the responsibility of the landlord.

6. Regarding enforcement of the laws, what type of fines can landlords face if they are not following the laws?

Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements could result in a ticket up to $295.00 + surcharges or a fine up to $50,000.00 for individuals and $100,000.00 for corporations may be imposed by the court upon conviction of an offence.

7. What can tenants do if they worry their rental home isn’t safe?

If a tenant is concerned about the safety of their rental unit, they should contact the Fire Prevention Division with their concerns and request an inspection. Ontario Fire departments are required to respond to complaints or requests for inspections under Ontario Regulation 365/13 -Mandatory Assessment of Complaints and Requests for Approval.

8 What happens if a tenant disables a smoke alarm in St Catharines? Can they be fined?

Intentional disabling of a smoke or carbon monoxide are both violations of the Ontario Fire Code (Division B, Article 6.3.3.4. and 6.3.4.6. respectively of O.Reg 213/07 as amended) and could result up to $295.00 + surcharges or a fine of up to $50,000.00 may be imposed by the court upon conviction of an offence that the tenant has disabled the alarm. Landlords are reminded to ensure they retain documentation that they have provide working alarms, instructions, and maintenance records upon request by the Fire Prevention Office.

9. Are there any great resources you recommend for residential landlords to learn more about their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety?

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management has a wealth of information for residential landlords located at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.ca.ca/english/FireMarshal/OFM_main.html You can also find information and contact numbers at the St Catharines Fire Services website at https://ww.stcatharines.ca/en/livin/Fire.asp

10. St Catharines is becoming know by people all over Ontario that your fire department takes fire safety and the safety of tenants extremely seriously. We have members who admire your actions and with their own local cities were like your team. What is the goal of your fire department and why are you acting so diligently on this?

St Catharines Fire Services strives to serve and protect all citizens of and visitors to St Catharines from the ravages of fire. Through education and proactive programs St Catharines Fire continues to work towards our goal of no fire related loss of persons or property and continued high quality of life through knowledge of fire and life safety.

The Ontario Landlords Association has launched our Fire Safety Campaign.  Landlords make sure you know the rules and regulations and make your property safe for your tenants.

Tenant Disables Smoke Alarms, House Burns Down, Tenant Charged

Friday, January 11th, 2013

January 11th, 2013

OLA smoke alarms 1

Orillia Ontario Tenant Charged With Intentionally Disabling Smoke Alarms

The Ontario Landlords Association has repeatedly emphasized to landlords how important it is to make fire safety a priority in your rental properties.

For example, last October 1st we recommended landlords use the opportunity of collecting October rent to also check the smoke alarms in your rental property.

Fire Safety Should Be a Priority for Small Landlords

Like we said then:

With furnaces and space heaters soon to be turned on as the weather gets cold, it’s also a great opportunity for Ontario Landlords to check that smoke alarms are present and working in your rental properties.

Let your tenants know ahead of time and let them know you are working to protect not only yourself, but your tenants!

Why Does it Matter?

Not having working smoke alarms can lead to fines and even worse.

The Fire in Orillia

On January 2nd, 2013 a huge fire broke out at 11 William Street in Orillia, Ontario. The fire caused over $150,000 in damages.

One of the tenants was charged for disabling a smoke alarm in the property on purpose.

According to Ralph Dominelli who is the Fire Chief in Orillia, it’s a very serious act if you disable a smoke alarm.

Chief Dominelli says that while the fire that broke out in the bedroom on the second upstairs floor was not being considered suspicious, the smoke alarms were not activated.

The Fire Chief said even while his team was fighting the blaze, no smoke alarms went off.

The Tenant Was Charged

The Fire Department charged the tenant under the Provincial Offences Act. While the tenant only faces a fine of $235, the Fire department has the option to raise that up to one year in jail and a $50,000 fine.

The severity of the charge will depend on evidence pointing to why the smoke alarms were disabled.

The Investigation

At this time the Fire Chief cannot say why the smoke alarms were disarmed. However a professional engineering company was hired by the landlords insurance company. They have confirmed the fire began at the edge of a mattress.

One of the possible reasons for the fire was faulty discharge after smoking in the bedroom. This has not been confirmed.

Landlords and Tenants Responsibilities

Dominelli says  it is the tenants responsibility to make sure all smoke alarms are in good working condition.

It is the landlords responsibility to make sure smoke alarms are installed on each level of the property and outside of the bedrooms and other sleeping areas.Smoke alarms ought to be checked to make sure they are working effectively each month.

The Lesson for Landlords

Landlords this is another example of why fire safety is important. Landlords must make sure there are working smoke alarms in their investment properties.

It is also important to find good tenants who will cooperate with you in making sure the smoke alarms are maintained in good working order.

You need to do proper tenant screening to make sure you avoid renting to tenants from hell who do not respect you, your property, or their own safety. If you do rent to bad tenants, be aware of what can happen and make sure you fight for your rights and evict them.

If you hire a property management company, make sure they are professional and know all the rules and respect your concerns and worries at all time. There are lots of bad property management companies out there.

To discuss this and other issues with thousands of other small landlords join the Ontario Landlord Forum

Landlords and Tenants Know the Fire Code and Check Your Smoke Alarms

Monday, September 17th, 2012

September 18th, 2012

 

Both the Milton, Ontario Landlord and the Ontario Tenant Pleaded Guilty!

Another Issue Regarding the Ontario Fire Code?

Yes, and this time both a landlord and a  tenant were involved.

Both a Landlord and a Tenant?

Both the landlord and the tenant pleaded guilty for  two separate smoke alarm violation cases in Milton, Ontario.

What’s the Background Story?

According to the MFD (Milton Fire Department), the very first charge began with a call for help they received in April of 2012.

And…

Upon arrival at the residence at Cabot Trail, the city Fire Teams found this individual rental unit existed without a working smoke detector.  Where? In the unit basement.  They also found a couple of smoke detectors even  had batteries which were not set up properly.

Who Was at Fault?

The homeowner pleaded guilty to ‘fail to install smoke alarms where required’ and was fined $230.

What About the Other Charges?

The second charge came during a requested MFD rental property inspection in May. Firefighters found no smoke alarm outside the sleeping area of the home on No. 25 Sideroad.

Was the Landlord Charged Again?

Upon investigation, the homeowner produced signed documentation that the rental property did meet the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code with respect to smoke alarms when the tenant moved in.

The Landlord Smartened Up!?

Yes,  the onus of the smoke alarm maintenance was actually placed upon…believe it or not… the tenant.

Upon closer inspection the MFD actually discovered the tenant had removed the smoke alarms and was subsequently charged with, get this,  ‘deliberately disabling a smoke alarm.’ Furthermore, the tenant was fined $100 in court Monday after pleading… guilty.

What Does the Fire Department Say?

Deputy Dave Pratt says: “These charges reflect the MFD’s zero-tolerance approach to smoke alarms as there is no excuse not to have them installed and operating,”

He continued, “Landlords who are found to be negligent in providing and maintaining smoke alarms for their rental dwelling units will be ticketed or charged under the Ontario Provincial Offences Act, as will tenants who intentionally disable them.”

We often think of fire dangers such as arson, but the working smoke detectors are also being treated very seriously by fire officials.

This is a Great Lesson for Ontario Landlords!

Yes, as we have seen previously the government is very quick to charge and fine small business landlords.

Landlords need to protect themselves from charges and fines.  The Ontario Landlords Rental Kit provides the protection they need.  Understand the Ontario Fire Code and make sure you check on all the smoke detectors.

 

St. Catharines Landlords Fined $12,500 for Illegal Basement Apartments

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

August 1st, 2012

 

Landlords Make Sure You Have Approvals and Smoke Alarms!

What Happened?

Two St. Catharines landlords have been fined for creating affordable rental property housing without proper approvals.  Also, they were charged for not having working smoke alarms.

Who are the Landlords?

They are Carmelina Limoncelli and Vince Limoncelli.  Each plead guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice on July 13 to charges related to rental properties located at 34 St. George St. and 56 George St.

What Were the Fines?

Landlord Carmelina Limoncelli was fined a grand total of $5,500.  One count for failing to maintain smoke alarms in her rental cost her $1,500.  A second count for the creation of two rental units in the basement of her house cost her another $4000.

Landlord Vince Limoncelli was fined $7,000 in total.  First for three counts of failing to maintain smoke alarms which costs him $3000.  Second, he has to pay $4000 for the creation of a basement rental unit at 56 St. George St.

What Does the Chief Fire Prevention Officer Say?

“The construction of apartments in homes without proper permits and inspections can result in substandard apartments that do not meet the minimum life safety standards,” St. Catharines chief fire prevention officer Chris Leonard said in a media release.

Why Not Give These Landlords a Chance to Get Up to Code?

No answer.  Those hefty fines must look good for the government looking for more sources of revenue.

Did they Investigate Whether or Not the Tenants Took Down the Smoke Alarms?

No answer.  Instead, Leonard stated:  “Many times these apartments are found with improper exits and fire separations, as well as hazardous electrical installations.”

I See Thousands of “Illegal” Apartment Advertised in Toronto, What about Those?

Like they say in Real Estate, “location, location, location.”   It’s the same for landlords.  Some municipalities turn a blind eye while others seek to punish residential property investors.  No matter if you are in Barrie, Toronto, Ottawa or any other town or city, make sure you know the rules and laws for your area.