Compliance with local fire safety codes is enforced by the local fire department. Both residential and commercial properties are expected to adhere to these imposed regulations. However, lots of tenants do not realize how much of these safety precautions are the responsibility of the landlord. If you are renting and you find yourself wondering about apartment fire protocols, here are the top things your landlord should be doing to help protect you and the other tenants.
#1 Conduct Regular Fire Safety Assessments
The law dictates that all landlords must carry out fire safety inspections on all the properties they are managing. Risk assessments can identify potential fire hazards in a property.
It also helps identify which tenants are in potential danger and how they can adequately handle it. The October 2015 legislation dictates that all private sector landlords must have working smoke detectors on every floor of the property and carbon monoxide protectors in each room that houses solid fuel-burning appliances.
Your landlord’s responsibility also includes ensuring that all these features are always working to keep tenants safe in the event of an apartment fire.
#2 Look Into Section Eight Inspections
Local housing authorities regulate and administer the Section Eight Voucher Program that provides federal rent assistance to qualified tenants.
Residential sector landlords of tenants who are on the receiving end of voucher assistance are expected to comply with the Section Eight Voucher requirements. Under the program, all rental units must undergo an inspection before the tenancy in addition to a yearly inspection.
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Though the program requirements are more extensive than just fire safety concerns, this also includes requisites for smoke detectors. As a tenant, you can check if the sensors contain appropriate features for hearing-impaired individuals.
More importantly, the devices must meet the guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association Standard 74.
#3 Comply With Residential Rental Property Requirements
In general, an annual inspection for apartment fire safety can occur without prior warning. However, as the tenant, owner, or manager, you must know that they cannot do it without consent.
Inspections are conducted in the property’s common areas. Examples of this are garages, laundry rooms, home gyms, staircases, and even empty rental units.
Tenants can request fire safety inspections in occupied apartments. Whenever an inspector is in search of apartment fire hazards, they often look into obstructed fire exits, stairwells, and storage of hazardous materials. Additionally, fire preventive devices such as smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers are also checked.
#4 Commercial Rental Property
If you happen to be renting a commercial property, fire department regulations or local ordinances may necessitate record-keeping that is typically made available for review during the inspection.
For instance, some fire departments will specify property owners to keep a binder on hand. The binder must contain data on fire safety code compliance. Safety drills, fire safety equipment, certification, and a fire emergency preparedness plan are some of the records that may be kept safely under file.
If you suspect neglect, contact Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault for a free consultation at 419-843-6663 or find us online. Discuss your situation with an experienced Ohio and Michigan personal injury attorney.
Jonathan Ashton, Partner and Personal Injury Attorney, began his law career at GT&B in 2007 as a law clerk. He was hired as an associate immediately after passing the Ohio Bar in 2008. Jonathan practices in Personal Injury, representing clients who have been injured and need justice and compensation for them to move forward in their lives.