Like most potential rental property problems, no one wants or expects a fire to happen at their properties. A fire is one of the scariest things that could happen. Part of your responsibility as a landlord is to ensure that your properties are prepared for this risk.
What exactly does this responsibility entail? Do landlords have to supply fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, or other emergency prevention tools in their rental properties in Toronto?
The Ontario Fire Code, as well as some specific regulations in Toronto, sets up what you must do when renting out properties in the area. If you do not provide the right protection for your tenants and a fire occurs, you could be facing unthinkable liability! Check that your rentals are up to code with the help of today’s article.
What Is The Ontario Fire Code?
When working on rental properties in Toronto, you are responsible for being up-to-date with the Ontario Fire Code and whether or not your properties are outfitted as they should be to mitigate the risk of a fire and fire damages.
Most properties will be subject to following the Ontario Fire Code Section 9.5, but the exact rules your property will be subject to will be determined based on the property type, age, and zoning.
The code details all of the specifics that are required to ensure all parties involved in the housing will do their part to prevent fires.
Do Landlords Have To Supply Fire Extinguishers And Smoke Detectors?
Yes. Ontario requires that landlords supply a few things to every rental unit:
- At least one smoke detector on every level of the home
- At a 2A portable fire extinguisher
If you have any questions about the specifics of the fire code or how Toronto’s fire code for apartments works, the best way to find an answer is to call the Fire Marshal’s office. They can help get you answers about the fire code requirements: 416-325-3100.
Smoke Detector Rules
- Must be installed in the hallway of units where sleeping areas are served by a hallway, or between the sleeping area and other areas if there is no hallway
- Must have a smoke detector on each floor without a sleeping unit
- Must have a smoke detector in each sleeping unit if it is not a standalone unit (i.e., a basement apartment)
- Must be attached to an electrical circuit or be operated by batteries
Landlord Responsibilities For Fire Safety
As a landlord, part of your responsibility is to ensure that your properties are built to be fire preventative while also ensuring the right safety tools are in place to extinguish and alert if there is a fire.
Your building must be up to code to prevent fires. This means your electrical wiring needs to be done properly, your heating system needs to be properly tested, and firewalls must be built in all the right places. Additionally, fire exits and egress windows must be installed according to the fire code for the building type.
Fire Extinguishing & Alerts
Pending the type of building you own, you must ensure you have the following systems in place:
- Building-wide sprinkler system
- Smoke detectors in each unit and/or floor
- Fire extinguishers in each unit
- Building-wide fire detection and alert system
Additionally, landlords of multi-units, in particular, need to have a fire escape plan. All residents should be made aware of what to do in case of a fire. Landlords of all rental property types should have this type of plan in place.
The following needs to be up to code to ensure that tenants can escape safely if a fire does break out:
- Fire escapes
- Egress windows in basement rooms
- Posted fire escape plan
- Fire escape emergency tools and lighting, as applicable
- At least two exits on each floor
Keeping Tenants Up To Code
While you can easily ensure you have the appropriate tools in the apartment, the tenant will also be involved in the process of keeping up with the fire code. If the tenant tampers with the smoke detector between your testing, how would you know?
To prevent liability issues and to ensure that tenants are aware of the importance of the fire code, it is recommended that Toronto landlords like you include information about fire safety in the lease. By including rules about the smoke detectors, extinguishers, and other fire safety factors in the lease, you can create a safer environment for everyone.
FAQ: Ontario Fire Code For Rental Properties
Does A Landlord Have To Provide Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
The Ontario Fire Code requires that landlords install at least one carbon monoxide alarm in each sleeping unit if that unit has fuel-based appliances, a garage, storage area, or a fireplace. These must be permanently integrated into the electrical circuit or battery-operated.
How Often Do Detectors Need To Be Tested?
It is part of your responsibilities as a landlord to maintain and test the detectors. The smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested:
- After you change tenants
- After you do any changes to the electrical circuit
Additionally, landlords should give their tenants information about how to test and check the alarms for themselves as well. This enables them to regularly check and maintain the condition of the alarms and is important as the alarms affect their safety as well.
Do Fire Extinguishers Need To Be Replaced?
Most fire extinguishers have a lifespan between 6 and 12 years, but you might not be certain when a fire extinguisher was installed in the unit. Most fire extinguishers today should have an expiration date or expected use range on the tags. Replace them as necessary according to this date.
Keep Your Tenants Safety In Mind
As a landlord, it is part of your landlord responsibilities to uphold the fire code as outlined by the laws in Ontario. If you neglect these responsibilities, you could be putting your tenants at serious risk. Not only could your oversight lead to serious injury, but you could also be fined a large amount for something as simple as an untested smoke detector.
Keep the fire code in mind, and be sure that you are doing everything you can to mitigate the risk of fire damage or injury at your rental units.