Experienced Ontario Landlords Know Safe Rentals Are Our Priority!
Winter is already on the way. For over a decade our landlord community association has educated small working class mom and pop landlords on the importance of Fire Safety!
Many small landlords had no idea they were required to make their rentals “fire safe” until we started sharing this vital information over a decade ago.
Sadly there are still landlords who aren’t following the laws in 2022.
Rule #1 – Make sure you contact your local fire department and work together to make your rentals “fire-safe.” All properties are unique so get your local fire dept. to help you make your rentals safe.
Here is how to start according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs in 2022:
Most fire departments in Ontario provide homeowners with free fire safety inspections to go over which Fire Code Regulations and local by-laws affect your property. You can schedule an appointment and they conduct a walk-through assessment with you to go over the requirements.
For some safety tips and requirements of smoke alarms, please visit: https://www.oafc.on.ca/smoke-alarms
For some safety tips and requirements of carbon monoxide alarms, please visit: https://www.oafc.on.ca/carbon-monoxide.
Downloadable brochures can be found on our website here (and on the left-hand column): https://www.oafc.on.ca/public-safety
Your local fire department would also have brochures and pamphlets (likely in multiple languages) to provide to you and your tenants..
Let’s Make Our Rentals Fire Safe!
Safe rentals are 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. Remember: Contact your local Fire Department for details for your specific rental property!
The Ontario Landlords Association is a community association that has launched Fire Safety Campaigns for over a decade to make sure residential landlords across the province are aware of their responsibilities for owning rental properties and protecting our tenants.
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 previously.
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 18.104.22.168. and Article 22.214.171.124., 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 126.96.36.199. and 188.8.131.52. 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 for 2022-2023.
Landlords make sure you know the rules and regulations and make your property safe for your tenants.
Contact your local fire officials to learn the latest updates to policies and the latest best ways to protect your tenants.