Archive for the ‘Ontario Fire Code’ Category

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.

 

Rental Property Fire! House Burns Down! Landlord Fined! Tenants No Insurance!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

July 18th, 2012

 

Fire Chief: Landlords Are Responsible for Working Fire Alarms

What Happened?

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.